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16 Essential Terms You Need To Understand If Child Protective Services Calls

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Child Protective Services tends to have their own vocabulary, and it is important for anyone who is the target of an investigation to understand the various terms this agency uses. Here are a few of the most common terms associated with CPS:

Abuse – Involves a caretaker doing something that he or she should not have that causes physical, mental or emotional harm to a child.

Attorney Ad Litem – An attorney that is appointed as a representative of the children, and has the authority to file paperwork and motions with the court on their behalf.

CASA -Stands for “court appointed special advocate”, and is a specially trained volunteer who may sometimes be appointed to look out for the best interests of children. CASA representatives may sometimes be called on as witnesses, and are not licensed attorneys.

CPS Investigation – An investigation that takes place by CPS whenever this agency receives a report of alleged misconduct concerning a child.

CPS/TDFPS – Acronyms for Child Protective Services/Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

D.A.- Refers to district attorney or prosecutor, and is the agent that represents CPS during court proceedings.

Guardian Ad Litem – A court-appointed advocate whose function is to look out after the best interests of the children in a particular case. This person is normally an attorney; however, this attorney may not file paperwork on behalf of the children unless he or she has also been appointed as attorney ad litem.

Neglect – Failure to provide for the physical, mental, or emotional needs of a child

Priority 1 – Refers to any case in which CPS workers determine that a child is in immediate danger of death or serious physical harm.

Priority 2 – Any case that does not involve an immediate threat of death or serious harm to a child, but nonetheless warrants an investigation.

Reason to Believe – A ruling made after an investigation in which CPS investigators conclude that the allegations included in a report are true.

Rule Out – A ruling that means CPS officials have determined that abuse or neglect of a child did not occur.

Safety Plan – Prepared on behalf of the children whenever they are not being removed from the home. This plan will provide for the child’s safety within the home, and must be followed in order to prevent removal.

Service Plan – A formal written plan that identifies certain actions that parents must take in order to either prevent removal or to have the children returned to the home if they have already been removed.

Unable to Determine – This ruling means that investigators have been unable to determine whether or not the allegations they received were true or not.

If you would like to learn more information regarding the law, then get a hold of Brett A. Podolsky today by calling 713.277.0087.

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