Individuals in Texas should be aware of their rights during a Child Protective Services investigation. When a CPS agent arrives at their house, parents have the right to deny them entry. However, this typically only delays — not prevents — the investigation. Rather than outright deny entry, parents can tell the agent that they’d prefer to schedule the appointment for a later date if they’re not prepared.
Additionally, parents have the right to ask the CPS agent why they’re being investigated. They can also send a letter to the State Central Registry to request a copy of the documentation.
During an interview, parents have the right to decline to answer questions. However, they should be aware that this might make them appear uncooperative. If they don’t wish to answer a question, they should politely decline instead of getting hostile or violent. They can also tell the CPS agent that they don’t think a question is relevant to the investigation.
Parents can decline to have their children interviewed, but this will likely result in a court order that requires the children to be interviewed without the parent present. They might also interview the child while they’re at school. If parents want to remain present during the interview, they can make a request to the CPS agent and explain their reasoning. For example, it would be helpful to have the parent present if the child has a disability.
What to do after a report from Child Protective Services
If a teacher, coach or family member reports a parent to CPS, the parent might face criminal charges or risk losing their child altogether. Working with an attorney, the parent could possibly get the charges reduced or dropped and maintain custody of their child. They might also be able to protect their reputation in the case of false accusations.