Welcome back and thanks for joining us again. We’ve been talking about what happens when CPS opens an investigation into your family, and decides that your children are at risk. As we mentioned in the previous article, once CPS opens an investigation into your family, if they decide your children are at risk they’ll file a petition for removal with the court. That is, assuming they haven’t taken your children already, on the grounds that they were in imminent danger. And with CPS, that could mean anything. But what happens next?
What happens at the probable cause hearing determines who gets your kids
Once CPS files the petition for removal with the family court, the court schedules a probable cause hearing where the Judge determines if your children really are at risk, and where they should stay. If the Judge decides that you’re not a neglectful or abusive parent, chances are your children will be left in your custody. And while CPS is likely to continue investigating you, at least your family will be intact.
What rights do you have during the proceedings?
If the Judge decides that the CPS worker who investigated you is correct, and your children are in danger of further abuse or neglect, they’ll allow the CPS worker to place your children into foster care. However, if you disagree with the placement that CPS proposes, you may speak up in court and request that your children be placed with a specific friend or relative who has agreed to take them (. Bear in mind, however, that the final decision is made by the court.
Keep the ultimate goal in mind
Remember, unless CPS is trying to terminate your parental rights, the goal is ultimately to reunite you with your children. Assuming the end goal isn’t termination, CPS will recommend services, like substance abuse counseling and parenting classes, that they believe will help your family work towards reunification. Discuss these services and your options with your attorney, but it is in your best interest to complete the recommended courses, as the court takes a dim view of a parent who doesn’t “make the effort” to get their kids back.
Where will your kids be sent if CPS takes them away?
If the court permits it, a CPS worker (often accompanied by a police officer who is there for the safety of the agency worker) will arrive at your house. Your kids will be collected from your home and placed into foster care. That could mean they’ll be placed with a friend or relative if one is available, or placed with a foster family who is licensed by the state, but are strangers to your children. Remember, hiding your children, or trying to run away with them to another state will only make things worse! Once the court has ordered that your children be removed from your care, refusing to comply can be charged as kidnapping!
Fighting CPS is a major battle and you’ll need expert help!
If your children are removed from your custody by the state, and you choose not to accept a plea with regard to the accusations against you, the next step is a trial. Join us next time to take a look at what happens during a CPS trial. Until then, if you or a loved one have been accused of abuse or neglect by CPS, contact our office immediately at 866 766 5245. Our experienced CPS defense attorneys have spent decades defending the families of mid-Michigan against the invasive and overzealous tactics of CPS, and we can help you too!