How to stand up for yourself during a Texas CPS case (2023)

It is a helpless feeling to be involved in a Child Protective Services (CPS) case in Texas. Unfortunately, I have never had the opportunity to speak to a parent who has any interaction with CPS and has told me that the experience was straightforward. It is not uncommon for these parents to tell me that they were misled, lied to, or not communicated with for days or even weeks at a time. All of this goes on while your child is removed from your home and taken to live at a relative or complete stranger's home. Parents who go through CPS cases are under a great deal of stress, much of it caused by CPS itself is an understatement from my experiences.

Despite the problems that arise in CPS cases, you should not and cannot lose hope in your abilities to represent yourself and your child as well as possible. Certainly, hiring an experienced CPS attorney, like those with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, can help. Beyond that, there are tips that you can implement in your own life to improve your mental outlook and chances of having your children returned to you. That is what we will be discussing in our blog post today.

Representing yourself means being assertive for you and your child.

If you don't ask, the answer is always, "No." That is something that my grandmother told me a lot when I was younger. Basically, if you don't stand up for yourself, you will never get the results you want. You can ask for something, and the answer you receive could be "yes" or "no." Either way, you have a chance to get what you want. If you fail to ask, for whatever reason, your problem will not be addressed. There is a chance that you could get what you want, but it is unlikely, even in the best of circumstances. CPS cases are not the best of circumstances.

CPS caseworkers are overworked and underpaid. These folks do a tough job. I am not here to defend CPS or their employees, but they do have hectic schedules and are charged with keeping track of dozens of families at any given time. So, if you don’t speak up for yourself, the people working on your case will certainly not do so. They don’t have the motivation, and they don’t have the time to devote to you. That doesn’t mean that they are working against you or anything like that. It’s a simple reflection of their workload.

The bottom line is that if you don't stand up for yourself, nobody will do so. Your attorney can and will once he or she becomes involved, but before hiring an attorney, you are the person who is in charge of your case. Don't rely on a CPS employee to provide you with updates. It would be best if you asked for them. If something doesn't make sense to you, ask questions, and not stop until you understand. Remember, this isn't a misunderstanding you're having about your cable bill- this is your child we're talking about.

(Video) How to handle a Child Protective Services Visit in under 4 minutes

This often means calling a CPS employee as often as it takes to get a return phone call. Calling one time to confirm an appointment with the case manager and supervisor does not mean giving up if you get their voicemail. Keep calling. If you have a full-time job, consider your child's CPS case as your second full-time job. Devote yourself to the case as fully as possible. Keep yourself organized. Save every document that you possibly can. Use blog posts like this and others that you find online as resources to learn how to best proceed with your case.

Keep in touch with the CPS caseworker.

Even if you are not the biggest fan of your CPS caseworker assigned to work with you, you must be able to work with him or her to complete whatever steps are necessary to have your child returned to you or to have your case closed. Your caseworker will have a supervisor, and you should ask for their name as well. That way, you can have two person’s information to follow up with in the future.

Take it upon yourself to complete the necessary steps in your case.

If you have gone to court and have been ordered to attend counseling or therapy for an addiction or anger management problem, you could choose to wait for the CPS caseworker to find you a class to take. Or, you could seek whatever resources you can and update your caseworker as you do so. Once you have found people to help, you let the caseworker know so that she can give you the go-ahead to proceed.

If the judge issues orders in your case, are sure to follow them exactly

After court appearances (known as hearings), the judge may issue rulings that order you to do or not do a certain activity. Sometimes these orders will not be in your favor. Other times they may be ones that you agree with. Regardless, you need to follow the instructions from the judge and do exactly as you are instructed. You are not waiving your right to stand up for yourself by following the instructions of a judge. You are participating in the process, which is a large part of the battle to get your child back home.


Standing up for your children during a CPS case.

Just because you are not with your children physically does not mean that you can't take an active and involved role in their well-being daily. No matter how you feel- scared, angry, frustrated- your child likely feels those same emotions on an even more enhanced level. Help yourself and your child by doing whatever you can to help him, or she makes it through this period as easily as possible.

Communicate with the caseworker

If it comes to a point where your child has to temporarily be removed from your house, you need to share with him or her any information that you know of that can help in caring for your child. Does your child have any dietary restrictions? Are there medications that your child needs to take? What about educational needs that should be addressed? Whatever special circumstances your child as you need to share them with the caseworker. Do not assume that he or she is aware of those needs or can “figure them out.” You need to take the proactive step and inform him or her of those needs.

Putting your child at ease during a CPS case

If your child is removed from your home, you should not panic. There is nothing permanent about that- at least yet. It would help if you did whatever you can to help your child transition into their new living environment. As I mentioned earlier, it may be that your child will be living with a relative, or it could be that he or she is sent to live with a foster family. Either way, let's talk about what things you can do to help him or her adapt to their new living environment.

CPS will allow you some time to pack up some of your child's belongings. This will occur before your child is removed or if CPS believes that an emergency required the immediate removal of your child. You should collect your child's clothes, toys, and other items that can remind them of home and give those to the caseworker. You won't be able to pack up many of their belongings, but some things are better than none.

(Video) Strategies For Parents With Active CPS CASES: Representing Yourself In Court

When you get an opportunity, speak to whoever will be caring for your child daily to inform him or her of your child’s schedule. If your child plays a sport or participates in an extracurricular activity, then you should bring that to the caretaker’s attention. There is no guarantee that your child will maintain the same schedule that he did at home with you, but you can at least alert the caretaker to the events.

You should hire an attorney as soon as possible after becoming involved in a CPS case.

Even though it may feel like you are getting run over by your CPS case, that does not mean that you have no rights at all. It is not required of CPS to inform you of your rights, and there is no point in the process where things will stop to allow you to catch your breath and figure out what you can and cannot do in the context of this case. It is your responsibility to learn your rights and act on them when appropriate.

For instance, you have the right to hire an attorney to represent you in your child’s case. CPS cases can potentially result in your parental rights being terminated as a worst-case scenario. In that situation, you have the right to have the court appoint an attorney for you if it is shown that you cannot afford to hire one yourself. Ensure that you raise this point to the judge in an initial hearing- although he or she should do so without your asking.

A needs-based analysis will be performed to determine whether or not you need to have an attorney appointed to represent you. A good rule of thumb to determine whether or not you will likely qualify to have an attorney appointed to represent you is whether you are already receiving a government benefit like food stamps. If you are, you will likely qualify to receive free legal assistance in your case.

(Video) How To Defend Yourself in Court without a Lawyer (and Win): Tips from Award-Winning Lawyer

CPS must notify you of any court dates or other important events

CPS cannot simply barge into your life and begin an investigation without first telling you why they are investigating your family. If CPS has met with your child, they must tell you this as well. Finally, CPS must also tell you once their investigation is complete. Be aware, however, that I have spoken with a handful of parents who are going through CPS cases in recent months, and they have told me that CPS will not always satisfy this burden.

CPS must give you information regarding hearing dates and other courtroom activities. You have the right to attend any hearing in your case and mediation or family group conference. Mediation brings together all the parties to your case and attempts to resolve a resolution without having to go through more hearings and a possible trial.

You still have the right to see your child.

Just because CPS has temporary custody of your child does not mean that you have lost your right to see your child and spend time with him or her. After taking custody of your child, you have the right to see your child at most five days after the removal. A visitation schedule can be worked out with the CPS caseworker. While your visits may be restricted as far as time is concerned, it will do a great deal of good for you and your child to be able to spend some time together.

How to stand up for yourself during a Texas CPS case (1)

(Video) Fighting Child Protective Services (CPS) to get your children back. How to win the first trial.


How to stand up for yourself during a Texas CPS case (2) If you want to know more about what you can do, CLICK the button below to get your FREE E-book: Child Protective Services E-Book

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  6. Family Law Cases in Texas: The final stages of a CPS case
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  9. In what circumstances could your child end up living with your relative during a CPS case?
  10. What can a CPS investigation into your family mean now and in the future?
  11. What to do if your spouse is being investigated by CPS in Texas for abuse or neglect of your child?
  12. Can CPS photograph your house and request your child’s medical records in Texas?

Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Houston, Texas CPS Defense Lawyers

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding CPS, it's important to speak with one of our Houston, TX CPS defense Lawyers right away to protect your rights.

Our CPS defense lawyers in Houston TX are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC handles CPS defense cases in Houston, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.


How do I intervene in a CPS case in Texas? ›

Intervening in a Texas CPS or lawsuit affecting a parent-child relationship requires legal standing to be involved in the case or file an original lawsuit as a foster parent. Standing means that a person has a personal stake in the controversy at hand.

How do I get a CPS case dismissed in Texas? ›

It can be dismissed by CPS if they feel like the child is not in any real danger. It can also be dismissed by a judge if CPS fails to provide enough evidence to prove that the alleged abuse or neglect actually occurred.

What are my rights against CPS in Texas? ›

What are my rights? You have the right to talk to your CPS caseworker. Communications with the caseworker are not confidential, and anything you say can be used in court. If CPS has filed a lawsuit against you to take your children, you have the right to a court-appointed attorney if you cannot afford an attorney.

What not to say to CPS? ›

Despite how emotionally charged these situations are, you must remain calm when interacting with social workers and police officers. Anything you say will be used in a CPS investigation as evidence. In many circumstances, it is best to say nothing at all.

Can a judge overrule CPS in Texas? ›

Ultimately, the judge has greater authority to control a CPS lawsuit involving an allegation of abuse or neglect to a child. However, the judge's authority is limited to only address requests and evidence that are present to the Court, so many decisions get made by CPS without the judge even knowing about it.

How do I fight a false CPS report in Texas? ›

Take the following three steps to protect your rights when facing false allegations of child abuse in Texas:
  1. Cooperate with the Investigation. ...
  2. Collect Evidence to Prove That the Allegations Are False. ...
  3. Hire a Family Lawyer to Protect Your Rights.
Aug 2, 2021

On what grounds can a case be dismissed Texas? ›

Likewise, a judge can dismiss the case if they find no legal basis for the charge, if the defendant's rights have been violated, or if the state has failed to prove its case. Judges can dismiss a case either on their own motion or on the motion of the defendant.

How do I get CPS to drop a case? ›

How will the CPS drop charges?
  1. Formal acquittal. ...
  2. Discontinuance. ...
  3. Lack of evidence. ...
  4. Evidence against you was illegally obtained. ...
  5. The prosecution is not in the public interest. ...
  6. To buy time to prepare for a later trial.
Jul 20, 2021

Can a victim ask the CPS to drop case? ›

Remember, you cannot ask the CPS to drop the charges without good cause. You might know you are innocent, or regret your actions, or have been reconciled with the victim. But the CPS will still say that justice must be done. The CPS cannot decide whether you are innocent or guilty – only the courts can do that.

Can I refuse to talk to CPS in Texas? ›

Anything you say to a CPS caseworker can be used against you or could even become grounds to take your kids away from you. If you are being investigated by CPS and a caseworker starts asking you questions, you can exercise your right to remain silent by politely telling the investigator that you do not want to answer.

Can you sue CPS in Texas? ›

I don't want to take up a great deal of time discussing the legalities of using the state of Texas, but legally speaking, it is possible to file a lawsuit against Child Protective Services.

What does Texas CPS look for in a home? ›

They may want to see if there is food in the house, proper sleeping conditions, and plenty of clothes. But, they're also looking for signs of health issues, drugs, weapons, and anything that might be used against you. How far you let CPS go in looking around is up to you.

Should you be honest with CPS? ›

For that reason, it's essential to be honest with the family. Terry advises, “Remind the family that you are mandated by law to call this in. Alleviate the fears of parents (having contact with CPS). Honesty helps build relationship and trust.”

How much evidence does CPS need? ›

The evidence they gather includes documentary, physical, photographic and other forensic evidence and not just witness testimony. The police arrest and interview suspects. All of this produces a file which when complete the police send to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for review and a decision on prosecuting.

What does it mean when CPS red flags you? ›

Red flags are warning signs to look out for that potential child abuse and neglect are occurring within a client's home.

Can you press charges against someone for making false accusations to CPS in Texas? ›

Section 261.107 provides the civil and criminal penalties associated with falsely reporting child abuse in Texas. This section provides that “a person commits an offense if, with the intent to deceive, the person knowingly makes a report…that is false.”

At what age will a judge listen to a child in Texas? ›

The Answer: 12 Years Old & Over

The law allows the judge to interview a child that is 12 years of age or older concerning custody. During the interview, the judge will listen to the child's wishes, desires and opinions regarding residency and primary conservatorship.

Can the CPS be challenged? ›

A Victim Right of Review (VRR) gives the actual victim of the crime (or a close relative if the victim died as a result of the offence) the opportunity to challenge decisions by the police or CPS to not proceed with prosecution (which can happen at any stage).

Can you appeal a CPS case in Texas? ›

Appeals in parental termination and child protection cases are governed by the rules of appellate procedure for accelerated appeals, but include additional expedited deadlines and procedures. See TEX. R. APP.

What type of lawyer do I need to sue CPS in Texas? ›

If you've decided to sue CPS for violating your constitutional rights, you need an experienced civil rights attorney to represent you.

How long does a CPS investigation last Texas? ›

The investigation phase should be completed within 45 days from the date of intake. If there is good cause, the caseworker may request a 45-day extension.

How do I get a case dismissed in Texas? ›

You may dismiss a case you filed at any time before you have introduced all your evidence, or take a non-suit by filing a Notice of Nonsuit with the court.

What is the reason for a case to be dismissed? ›

There are many reasons for a court to dismiss a case, both procedural and substantive. FRCP 12 provides the list of grounds for dismissal in federal court, which includes a lack of jurisdiction, improper service of process, failure to join a party, and a plaintiff's failure to state a claim for relief.

What is Rule 162 in Texas? ›

Rule 162. Dismissal or Non-suit (1988) At any time before the plaintiff has introduced all of his evidence other than rebuttal evidence, the plaintiff may dismiss a case, or take a non-suit which shall be entered in the minutes.

Can you drop charges once CPS is involved? ›

If the crown prosecution service does not have enough evidence to prove their case, they may drop charges against you. The CPS must be able to prove their case beyond reasonable doubt and must have a strong case against you.

How many CPS cases get dropped? ›

Completed prosecutions decreased by 6.8% from 107,035 in Q4 21/22 to 99,797 in Q1 22/23. Both magistrates' courts and Crown Courts recorded reductions of 5.7% and 12.5% respectively. The conviction rate slightly decreased in Q1 22/23 to 83.0% from 83.3% in Q4 21/22.

What does the CPS have to do before a case goes to court? ›

Once they've completed their investigation and are ready to refer the case to the CPS, they will send us a file containing the evidence they've gathered. A CPS lawyer will then review all the information and decide whether we can bring a prosecution.

Can you sue the CPS? ›

Civil claims are governed by the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) and the associated Protocols and Practice Directions. CPS Proceeds of Crime (CPSPOC) has a dedicated Unit – the Civil Litigation Unit (CLU) - responsible for civil litigation claims brought against the CPS arising out of prosecution casework.

What is the time limit for CPS to make a decision? ›

In most cases the prosecutor will tell you their decision within 30 working days (about six weeks). If the review is likely to take longer than this, for example if there is a lot of evidence to consider, then we will let you know how long the review is likely to take and keep you updated with our progress.

Can a victim refuse to give evidence? ›

Only a small number of cases end up in court, but as a victim or witness of a crime if you're asked to give evidence in court, you must go.

Do I have to let CPS in my house Texas? ›

Do not let the CPS workers into your home. The only legal ways into your home are: In emergency situations (immediate and obvious danger to life or limb) With your permission.

Can social services take my child away without evidence? ›

Can social services take my child away without evidence? No, there must be evidence in support of the application from social services when they are asking the court to remove your child/ren from your home.

Does CPS tell who called in Texas? ›

Anyone can initiate the report (e.g., teachers, grandparents, neighbors, an ex-spouse, etc.), and because this can be done anonymously, you will likely not know who made the claim. Once CPS receives the report, an evaluation will be made about the severity of the claim.

How do you prove social services wrong? ›

Challenging a decision
  1. Complain to the local authority by writing a letter.
  2. Complain to the Local Government Ombudsman.
  3. Ask a solicitor for help.
  4. Contact your MP to alert them to the problem you are having.

Can you sue social services for false allegations? ›

You could be able to make a claim irrespective of whether the abuse or negligence that you have suffered happened recently or a long time ago when you were a child. Similarly, you can also claim if you have been wrongly accused by Social Services.

What does CPS consider abuse in Texas? ›

The Texas family code states that a physical injury to your child that results in substantial harm to the child or the genuine threat of substantial harm from physical injury is counted as abuse in Texas.

Is a messy house child neglect? ›

Is having a dirty house child neglect? Unmade beds, dirty dishes and stacks of laundry are expected in a busy household but when the home becomes a health hazard it becomes a crime scene of child abuse and neglect.

What are grounds for CPS to remove a child in Texas? ›

CPS can immediately take children without a court order only if:
  • There is a present and immediate threat of physical or sexual abuse.
  • Leaving the children in the home is not safe or best for the children's welfare.
  • CPS made reasonable efforts to prevent or eliminate the need for removal.
May 22, 2020

What can social workers not do? ›

4. Check that you understand the things we cannot do
  • change a court's decision, or interfere with a court process.
  • make a local authority (or any other organisation) assign a different social worker.
  • change a local authority's funding decision.
  • change a decision about registering or deregistering foster carers.
Dec 20, 2022

What are my rights with CPS in Texas? ›

What are my rights? You have the right to talk to your CPS caseworker. Communications with the caseworker are not confidential, and anything you say can be used in court. If CPS has filed a lawsuit against you to take your children, you have the right to a court-appointed attorney if you cannot afford an attorney.

Should you answer questions from CPS? ›

Eventually, the CPS Investigator will get around to asking questions about the allegations. What you need to remember here is that the CPS Investigator is an agent of the government. They may not be wearing a badge or a gun, but you should answer their questions just like you would any police officer.

Can a parent refuse a forensic interview? ›

Most of the time, parents have the right to make choices for their child regarding police interviews and testifying or cooperating in a criminal case.

What are the 4 types of evidence? ›

Discussed below are the four types of evidence you should know.
  • Real Evidence.
  • Testimonial Statements.
  • Demonstrative Evidence.
  • Documentary Evidence.
Oct 15, 2021

Do police have to send every case to CPS? ›

The CPS does not investigate allegations of crime, or choose which cases to consider. CPS prosecutors must review every case referred to us by the police, or other investigators.

Will a case go to court if the CPS does not have enough evidence? ›

Once the police consider that they have enough evidence they will pass the case to the CPS. We will review the evidence and consider whether we can bring a prosecution. If the police don't think they have enough evidence they won't pass the case to us and no further action will be taken against the suspect.

Can social services look around my house? ›

Only the police can do this, and even they have to have a search warrant from a judge. You have every right to refuse any social service people admission to your home.

What questions will a social worker ask my child? ›

What questions will a social worker ask my child?
  • How are you? This question is a common opening question to build rapport with the child. ...
  • What do you feel about mummy/daddy? This question is meant to elicit some of the emotions of the child. ...
  • Has mummy or daddy ever done something you don't like? ...
  • Conclusion.
May 18, 2020

What does CPS feel like? ›

People who are being investigated can feel like CPS is there to harm them, tear their family apart, pry into their lives, and embarrass them. Parents feel harassed and invaded. I get it, and most CPS workers understand that you feel this way.

How long does it take for CPS to investigate in Texas? ›

The investigation phase should be completed within 45 days from the date of intake. If there is good cause, the caseworker may request a 45-day extension.

What happens when you call CPS on someone in Texas? ›

If CPS deems that a child could be in immediate danger, the claim could prompt an investigation, and local law enforcement could become involved. CPS must begin an investigation to find facts backed by evidence for them to be able to take action. CPS will attempt to complete investigations within 45 days.

How do you defend false accusations? ›

How to Defend Yourself Against False Accusations
  1. Stay Calm. ...
  2. Hire an Attorney to Help You Fight Back. ...
  3. Gather Evidence. ...
  4. Challenge the Accuser's Credibility. ...
  5. Find Your Own Witnesses and Present Evidence of Your Side of the Story. ...
  6. Develop a Strategy in Criminal Defense Cases.
Aug 8, 2022

Can CPS tell you who reported you in Texas? ›

No. CPS maintains that reporters are confidential. This is to protect their source. In many cases they are friends and family members of the children and it is essential for these people to remain in the lives of the children to keep an eye out for the children in the future and be a positive source for the family.

How long does it take for CPS to close a case in Texas? ›

In most cases, you will receive a letter from CPS telling you whether they closed your case or not. They normally send the letter within 90 days following the investigation.

Can CPS charge you without evidence? ›

Before charging, the CPS must be satisfied that there is enough evidence. This means there must be a realistic prospect of conviction in relation to each accused and for each and every charge.

Are Texas CPS cases public record? ›

General Information. Adult Protective Services (APS), Child Care Licensing (CCL), and Child Protective Services (CPS) case records are confidential by law and released to people personally involved in the case, or those entities who need the record to carry out professional duties.

Do I have to take a drug test for CPS in Texas? ›

It is common for Child Protective Services, or CPS to request the parents who are under investigation or in a pending lawsuit to take a drug test. They can obtain drug tests from a parent in two ways, one by the parent consenting or two by a court order.


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