Your first thought when you find out someone has questioned your parenting abilities is likely to be anger. Your second reaction may be fear. What if Child Protective Services takes your children away? Does a social worker have the power to remove your children from the home based on hearsay from another person? This is a valid concern that you may share with many other Texas parents.
As FindLaw explains, CPS’s purpose is to protect children from abuse and neglect. An accusation against you does not automatically make you guilty. It is the responsibility of a CPS social worker to investigate all claims, whether they have merit or not. Even so, it is understandable that you would be worried if CPS knocks on your door. The following steps explain what to do if this happens:
- Stay calm and civil. You may inform the social worker that you are going to talk to your attorney before allowing a visit. A follow-up visit will most likely be scheduled.
- You may ask to see a warrant before allowing the social worker inside. You have the right to refuse entry without a warrant, even if the social worker tells you otherwise.
- If CPS returns with law enforcement, you may have to let them in.
- Be polite and direct when answering questions. The social worker’s job is to help, but he or she is not your friend.
- Get the contact information of the social worker and law enforcement officers who come to your door.
If CPS does not find evidence of abuse or neglect, your case will likely be closed and you can breathe a sigh of relief. However, the children may be removed if the social worker believes they are at risk. If this happens, it will be in your best interest to work with CPS to develop a plan to get your children back. You may also choose to seek legal counsel. However, this information is not meant to replace the advice of a lawyer.