Child Protective Services, or the Department of Family and Protective Services, is a state agency which has many fine employees, however, these departments and persons have difficult jobs, and often have huge caseloads. It is very difficult to rely on this department to protect families. No matter how hard they try, they often find themselves understaffed, undertrained, overworked, underpaid, underappreciated and overwhelmed. I suggest to people that CPS only become involved as a last resort. Some situations require reports, but even then, my experience has taught me that this department is seldom an answer. When CPS is involved, things may get worse. I respect the efforts of the courts and people who handle these difficult situations, but I can’t overstate how hard this set of tasks is.
If CPS has become involved in your case, there are several things to expect. Often multiple hearings will be necessary. CPS will present tasks which must be performed or the situation will likely deteriorate. One can expect CPS to err on the side of protecting children. Persons caught up in these disputes often feel like criminal defendants, but without the protection of criminal law.
When possible, hire experts to evaluate and help the family and get a hearing in a regular family court to deal with or avoid these issues. If you are required to attend a CPS hearing, expect crowded courtrooms and skilled but sometimes stressed judges.
Many firms avoid CPS cases. Our firm does not, and our experience with these difficult cases is often quite useful. In every such case, we ask the client for patience, because in virtually all of these cases, patience will be very necessary. Unfortunately, even if we handle it, these cases may require six months or more to resolve and three to six hearings in a typical case.
Note that if CPS tries to terminate parental rights the court may have to appoint counsel. You can ask that the court appoint R. Joseph Powell to help you, but sometimes the courts have a list and won’t vary from it.
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