Texans often feel responsible for making sure all children are safe. This is the stated core mission of the Child Protective Services and Child Care Licensing. They also explain that they use collaborative efforts with families and the communities they serve to protect children, but this mission can feel hollow when one gets a call from them. So, what does a parent do when they call?
The best way to look at this call is like one is talking with the police. Be polite, but do not give out information until you have contacted an attorney. Saying the wrong thing, even if innocent, could lead to one losing their child.
Get a sense of the child abuse allegations and charges. This is a federal requirement, and do not accept generalization. While what they say will be infuriating and ridiculous, do not lash out. Just keep asking questions to gather as much information as possible for your attorney. Keep track of the information, and write it down.
Again, the key is to keep asking questions and gather information, not providing information. A seemingly, reasonable explanation can still be used against the accused, just like when one speaks with the police. An apology can been seen as an admission of guilt. Even just being rude could give them the impression you are hostile or abusive.
DFPS’s mission is to protect children, but unfortunately, this zealous net can catch good parents. This is why it is so important when DFPS calls to gather information for your attorney, get the DFPS official’s contact information, and not speak about the case.