Houston Criminal Defense Attorney
What is Child Protective Services?
Child Protective Services (CPS) is a Texas government program that receives and investigates reports of child abuse and neglect by parents, family members, school teachers or administrators, doctors, or other individuals. CPS has a great deal of power to act on abuse allegations. People being investigated by CPS should act quickly to protect their rights.
When you are being investigated for child sexual abuse or
molestation of a child, contacting an attorney early on can be critical to your success. The Law Offices of Ned Barnett is one of Houston's leading
criminal defense law firms. I, Attorney Ned Barnett, use more than 20 years of experience to lead my legal team in providing strong and effective representation for people facing investigation by Child Protective Services.
According to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, the branch of CPS was created to investigate reports of abuse and neglect of children. CPS also;
- Provides services to children and families in their own homes;
- Places children in foster care;
- Provides services to help youth in foster care make the transition to adulthood; and
- Places children in adoptive homes.
Information about CPS Investigations
Texas state law requires that people who believe a child has been abused or neglected make a report to CPS, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), or to the police. The law also requires that CPS investigate the report. This investigation may include a variety of actions by a caseworker:
- Recorded (audio or video) interview with the child
- Visual examination of the child
- Criminal history check of the alleged abuser
- Interviews and examinations of all other children in the home
- Interviews with the alleged abuser and any others who may have information
- Review of mental health records
The consequences of a negative report by your CPS caseworker can be devastating. If, in CPS's evaluation, abuse or neglect is found, then they will contact law enforcement. The law enforcement agency then determines whether a crime occurred and whether to conduct a criminal investigation. They can bring charges against you and have you arrested for child abuse. Your child or children may also be taken away from you and placed in foster care.
How can a Houston criminal lawyer help?
You have the right to consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer at any point during a CPS investigation, although it is always best to contact a lawyer as soon as possible. Your lawyer can help by protecting your rights, making sure that the investigation does not overstep the bounds of the law, and that the investigation and prosecution are not biased or inaccurate in any way. CPS processes quickly, so act fast. The investigation will be completed in approximately 30 days, after which a decision will be made about the future of the child.
With the help of a skilled Houston criminal lawyer, you can inform the law enforcement agency that a false report was made against you and you can fight for your rights as a parent. Contact my firm to learn more about how we can help you to protect your rights.