There are few experiences in life worse than having the government take your children away from you and start the process to terminate your rights. Basically, this is a custody battle with the government. The District Attorney represents CPS in Tarrant County. They have many resources at their disposal, and it is not a process you should go through alone. You do have rights and even some advantages…exercise them!
The CPS Process
As soon as children are removed, a ‘show cause’ hearing will be set within a few days. This hearing is a time for the government to convince a judge that there is cause to keep the children out of the home and the parent’s opportunity to convince the judge that the children should be returned. The government often wins this battle….but sometimes it is not even contested by the parent! Then begins a process that can up to 18 months and result in the termination of parental rights.
The next question is – if the children are not returned home – where the children will stay while the case is going on. First choice is a family member and second choice is foster care. Having your children with someone you and they both know will almost always be better than being with strangers. However, the family member(s) will have to subject themselves to CPS scrutiny and should be prepared.
CPS will develop ‘service plans’ for the parents. These can include parenting classes, drug test, rehabilitation, psychological and psychiatric tests, and counseling. CPS will try to drive the time-frame for visits, extended visits, and returning the children home.
Is There Hope?
Absolutely! If you find yourself in this situation, there are opportunities to make the most out of it. The law is designed to make CPS work with you to return your children. It is VERY difficult being a parent…definitely one of the most difficult jobs out there. Yet, there is no training, no resources, and little help…but that changes during this process. You will have parenting classes (something everyone could use) and other resources available. Hopefully you will never find yourself in this situation…but if you do, you need to protect your rights and make the most of what is offered.