You only want what’s best for your child, so it may come as a shock when someone comes knocking on the door, accusing you of abuse. Make sure you know your rights, or you could risk losing your kids.

Child Protective Services (CPS) of Texas performed over 171,000 investigations last year. That means lots of knocking on doors to dig deeper into claims. If your door is the one they’re knocking on, it’s essential to know your rights for your children’s sake and your own.

Legal protections

You’ve got rights, so make sure you exercise them:

  • Reasons: You’ve got the right to know why you’re being investigated, including specifics that pertain to any one incident. You may not be able to find out who reported you, but you can at least find out detailed reasons for their visit.
  • Denial: CPS workers likely can’t enter your home without a signed warrant, a court order or your permission. If they don’t have the first two, it may not be in your best interest to provide the third. One exception on consent might be if the agent has the home itself listed as a danger, but unrelated claims probably won’t allow entry.
  • Silence: You have the right to remain silent when dealing with CPS. An investigator could use anything you say in your CPS dispute or a criminal case. Even though you’re innocent of the charges, trying to explain them away will only put direct quotes into the report that hadn’t been there before.
  • Recording: While a CPS worker may need to interview your children, make sure they record any interviews they have as required by law. This evidence may prove crucial in later steps.

Understanding your rights when CPS is at your door can make all the difference in protecting your family. Make sure you’re prepared from the beginning to ensure the best outcome of an already stressful process.

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