Monday, April 7, 2014

Timeline for removal of a child by CPS

If the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) also known as CPS take possession of a minor child in the State of Texas without the agreement of a parent or guardian, the following deadlines apply.  The date is calculated from the date the child is removed from the home.

Day 1 - Removal of a Child /Emergency Hearing

Day 14 - Adversary Hearing

The court will make temporary orders regarding the child or return the child to the parent, guardian or relative if the court finds it is safe to do so and is in the child's best interests.

"Best interest of a child" is not defined in the State of Texas and every judge has their own definition of this term.

Day 60 - Status Hearing

Day 180 - Permanency Hearing

Day 270 - Permanency Hearing

Day 360 - Trial/Dismissal of Suit or Extension of the Case

Day 720 - Trial or Dismissal of Suit

The judge must either dismiss the case or the court will enter a final order regarding the conservatorship of the child by this date (Day 720).

As you can see, you need to immediately retain the services of an attorney if your child is removed from your home.

If your child is removed, you definitely need an attorney at the hearing on Day 14.
If you miss this hearing, then you won't get a chance to go before the judge again until 2 months have passed.

If CPS gives you a "service plan" you need to do it!
CPS is free to modify the "service plan" whenever they want to do so.
Keep a detailed log of everything going on.
Write down each phone call, email, etc. to CPS - date, time and name of person you called.
Also, contact the person's supervisor if you don't hear back within 24 hours.
Be aware that CPS workers have a very high turn-over rate - you might end up working with 2-4 different CPS workers during your case.

There will be an attorney appointed to represent the child.  Contact this person immediately.  Normally it is a family law attorney.  Judges take the attorney ad litem's recommendations under serious consideration.

If you want to take the child into your home, you need to show up to court and let the judge know that you want the child.  Your background will be thoroughly checked by CPS.  If you are a non-relative, you need to show some sort of "ongoing" relationship with this child.

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