Month: November 2018

cps
The Price of Abuse

A high percentage of hospital emergency rooms around the country treat abuse victims’ everyday, many of whom suffer from severe injuries as a direct result of spousal battering, child maltreatment, elderly abuse, or other types of family violence.

Many victims of battering and abuse receive treatment through primary care providers or family clinics. Some victims’ injuries are serious enough to require hospitalization, or even result in death.

In all, hundreds of thousands of women, children, elderly, and men are injured through mistreatment and violence within the family each year, necessitating medical attention.

The cost of providing medical services to domestic crimes victims can truly be staggering.

According to a study conducted at the Rush Medical Center in Chicago, the average charge for medical treatment given to many abused women, children, and elderly victims was $1,633 per person each year. Nationally, this adds up to an annual total cost of more than $857 million.

In spite of such figures, many believe the totals would be much higher were more victims of family violence and child abuse identified, recognized, reported, treated, and properly diagnosed.

A national health promotion objective for the year 2000 was for no less than 90 percent of the hospital emergency room departments to have plans in place for routinely identifying, treating, and referring victims of family violence and sexual assault.

What follows are some findings with respect to injuries and medical treatment related to domestic violence and child maltreatment:

     * Around half the victims of domestic violence report an injury of a physical Nature.

     * One in ten women beaten by an intimate seeks some kind of medical attention.

      * One in five injured female victims of violence committed by an intimate seeks medical treatment.

* Three in ten injured women in emergency departments were identified as having injuries sustained from domestic violence.

 * More than eight in ten of those seeking medical treatment from an intentional injury perpetrated by an intimate are women.

* About half of such injured victims of intimate violence are treated for bruises or similar type trauma.

* Nearly three in ten injured women in an emergency department as a result of domestic violence required hospital admission; 13% percent needed major medical treatment.

 * Four in ten severely injured battered women in emergency departments required previous medical treatment due to intimate violence.

     * One in four injured patients in emergency departments, as a result of violence, were victimized by a family member or intimate.

* Nearly four in ten female victims of violence in emergency departments were injured by a spouse, ex-spouse, or boyfriend.

* More than half the child emergency department patients under age 12 were injured by a family member.

     * Nearly four in ten emergency department sexual abuse cases involving children younger than 12 are family child sexual abuse cases.

Intimate Violence Injuries & Treatment in Hospitals and Emergency Room Departments

Violence by intimates resulting in hospital emergency department (ED) treatment for injuries sustained by the victim has reached epidemic proportions.

In 2010, the most recent year in which comprehensive data are available, an estimated 2.1 million people were treated in EDs for nonfatal injuries related to interpersonal violence up from 1.4 million .

In 1994 (see Table 4-1). Three-fifths of the injured were males and around half were under the age of 25.

Just over half of all persons injured by violence in the ED were white. Black ED patients treated for injuries caused by violent acts were overrepresented relative to their population figures.



Among the injured patients, 17 percent were victims of violence perpetrated by intimates, such as spouses, ex-spouses, boyfriends, girlfriends, or ex-partners.I4 Women were significantly more likely than men to be treated for injuries caused by an intimate. The number of persons treated in EDs for injuries perpetrated by intimates was estimated at 4 times greater than estimates from the National Crime Victimization Survey.

Table 4-2 reflects the number of injury cases treated in hospital EDs by type of violence and sex of victim in1994. Women injured by intimates comprised around 1 in 5 visits to EDs as a result of intentional violence.

Females were more than 5 times as likely as males to be treated for intimate violence-related injuries.

Although females represented 39 percent of all hospital ED visits as a result of injuries arising from violence, they accounted for 84 percent of the persons being treated for injuries brought on by intimates in 1994.

The patient-offender relationship in injuries sustained through violence, by the sex of the ED patient in 1994, can be seen in Table 4-3.

Nearly 37 percent of female ED patients’ violence-related injuries were inflicted by a spouse, ex-spouse, boyfriend, or ex-boyfriend.

Comparatively, less than 5 percent of the male ED patients injured by violence were victims of someone they were intimately involved with. Women patients were nearly 6 times as likely as men patients to have been injured by a spouse or ex-spouse, and almost 5 times more likely to have injuries committed by a significant other, such as a boyfriend or ex-boyfriend.

Research on the relationship between class and spouse abuse has shown mixed results, while reflecting the prevalence of domestic violence across class lines.

G. Levinger found in a study of couples seeking divorce that intimate violence was reported most often among lower class women.

M. Bulcroft and Straus found spouse abuse for females and males to be higher in the working class than in the middle class.

Other research has suggested that spousal violence may be as prevalent, if not higher, in the middle and upper classes as in the lower classes.

Table 4-4 shows the general characteristics of injuries through violence treated at hospital EDs in 1994.

Approximately one-third of injuries received by patients were bruises or similar type injuries. Nearly another one-third of patients were victims of cuts, stab wounds, or internal injuries.

Around one-sixth of the injured were treated for muscular or skeletal injuries such as sprains, fractures, dislocations, or dental injuries. About one-tenth of the ED injuries were for gunshot wounds or sexual assaults.

In nearly 60 percent of injuries, there was no weapon used. Most patients were injured by being punched or kicked; others suffered falls during attacks or by being thrown into a wall, an object, or to the ground, etc.

When a weapon was used, it was most likely something other than a firearm.

In nearly 19 percent of the injuries, another object was used by the offender. Just over 4 percent of the injuries came as a result of a firearm.

A comparison of data on ED victims of intimate violence and violence by no intimates, by the victim’s age, weapon used to inflict violence, and type of injury in 1994, can be found in Table 4-5.

According to the data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, based on a national sample of hospital EDs, around 1 in 4 of the injuries caused by intentional violence was committed by an intimate.

Most victims of intimate violence fell between the ages of 20 and 45, while no intimate victims were more evenly spread between the ages of 13 to 45.



In nearly 3 in 4 cases of ED patients injured from intimate violence, there was no weapon used, compared to around 6 in 10 violent incidents involving no intimates. Knives, sharp objects, bats, and other objects were used most often as weapons for both intimates and no intimates who were injured; however, the proportion was lower for intimates.

Non-intimates were more than 3 times a likely to be victims of a firearm than intimate victims of violence.

Almost half the persons treated for intimate violence suffered from bruises, with around one fourth of the injuries cuts, stab wounds, or internal injuries.

Approximately one-third of injuries sustained by nonintimates were bruises, and another one-third cuts, stab wounds, and internal injuries.

Slightly more than half the victims of intimate and nonintimate violence were treated for head or facial injuries. Nearly l in 5 intimate ED victims were treated for hand or arm injuries, and around 1 in 10 were injured in the upper trunk area.

A similar pattern existed for victims of nonintimate violence.

Nearly 3 in 10 violence-related injuries of ED patients occurred at home. Less than 1 in 5 took place in stores, offices, or factories; while just under 1 in 10 took place in the street.

The month in which violence resulting in injuries occurred was fairly evenly distributed across the 12 months, with the peak months being June through September – each accounting for more than 9 percent of the violence-related injuries experienced by ED patients.

More than 14 percent of injuries sustained by ED patients involved illegal drugs or alcohol. This was true for nearly 17 percent of the male patients and over 10 percent of the female patients.

Studies show that there is a high incidence of substance abuse in domestic violence situations.

Family Violence Injuries Treated in Hospital Emergency Departments

Family violence and child abuses are responsible for thousands of injuries being treated annually at hospital emergency departments nationwide. The relationship between ED patients injured through violence and the perpetrator of such violence in 1994 is shown in Table 4-6. A family member such as spouse, parent, child, sibling, or other relative were responsible for an estimated 15 percent of all intentional or possibly intentionally perpetrated injuries. A parent was more than 3 times as likely to have injured a child ED patient than the other way around. Boyfriends, girlfriends, or former intimates were the offenders in almost 10 percent of the violence-related injuries sustained by ED patients.

Children under the age of 12 treated in emergency departments for injuries caused by violence were far more likely to have been injured by a relative than a stranger, as seen in Table 4-7. More than 56 percent of the child patients younger than 12 received injuries from a relative, thus illustrating the significant relationship between child abuse and injuries to the victim requiring ED treatment. Just over 34 percent of the perpetrators of violence-related child injuries were acquaintances, while less than 10 percent of the injuries were caused by a stranger.

ED teenage patients were injured by relatives in less than 12 percent of the cases, while more than 58 percent were victims of violence by acquaintances. More than 20 percent of adult patients age 20 and over received violence-related injuries from a relative, while nearly 44 percent were victimized by acquaintances.

Table 4-8 indicates the type of offense in violence-related injuries treated in hospital EDs, by age of patient, in 1994. Most patients among all age groups were most likely to be treated for injuries arising from assaults. Around 30 percent of the teenage and adult patient assault victimizations involved fights or altercations, compared to fewer than 10 percent of the child patients under age 12.

Young children were far more likely than teenagers or adults to be treated for suspected or confirmed rape or sexual assault. More than 29 percent of the injuries suffered by ED child patients under 12 were for rape or sexual assault, while less than 5 percent of the teen injuries and under 3 percent of the adult injuries were a reflection of sexual assaults of any kind.

Of the children younger than 12 receiving ED treatment in 1994, half of those being treated for sexual abuse were age 4 and under, while half the child patients receiving treatment for other types of violence-related injuries were age 5 or under. In 39 percent of the rape and sexual abuse cases involving children under the age of 12, the patients were brought to the ED by parents or guardians who suspected the child may have been sexually abused or assaulted.



Identifying Family Violence Victims

The evidence suggests that many victims of domestic violence and child abuse are not being identified by physicians and other medical staff during examination or treatment.

Consider the following findings; this is from the year 2000:

     * Ninety-two percent of battered women do not discuss the domestic violence with their physicians.

     * In 40 percent of cases in a study of battered women being treated in a hospital emergency department, physicians failed to discuss the battering with the patients.

     * In a study of women at a family clinic, nearly 23 percent reported being physically abused by an intimate within the past year, with a lifetime rate of battering at around 39 percent. Only 6 of the 394 women surveyed had ever been questioned by their physician about domestic violence.

     * In one study of a metropolitan emergency department with a protocol for domestic violence, the ED physician did not get a psychosocial history from the battered woman, ask about abuse, or inquire concerning the victim’s safety in 92 percent of the cases of domestic violence.

     * A high percentage of abused elderly victims’ clinical symptoms are misdiagnosed as due to aging.

     * Most battered parents do not admit being abused by their progeny to physicians or others.

     * A national study of 143 accredited medical schools in the United States and Canada found that 53 percent of the schools did not require medical students to be educated about domestic violence.

Other studies have supported the lack of preparedness, education, ability to recognize, and indifference of many physicians, other hospital staff, and medical schools with respect to domestic crimes and family violence.

In a recent survey of hospital personnel, it was found that less than 5 percent of the evidence of domestic violence was recognized in women patients.

In another study of the prevalence of domestic violence among an inpatient female population at a nontrauma urban teaching hospital, 26 percent of the respondents reported ever being in a violent relationship.

Not one of the 181 patients, ages 18 to 60, were asked by hospital staff about domestic violence or victimization by an intimate.

Of great concern is the inadequate training of medical students on domestic violence and its dynamics. In a survey of medical school education regarding domestic violence sent to member schools of the Association of American Medical Colleges, 53 percent of the schools that responded gave no instruction to students concerning domestic violence. Forty-two percent had at least one required course on the subject, while 5 percent of the colleges reported that there are elective courses available containing information on domestic violence.



Child Abuse Related Injuries

Child abuse victims are also at risk for non-detection or misdiagnosis of injuries as a result of child abuse or neglect. Many children being treated in hospitals and clinics across the country have abuse-related injuries that are being misidentified or unrecognized as to their cause.

Young children are especially susceptible to sustaining injuries due to child abuse that may be overlooked or given the wrong diagnosis by medical workers.

“Because diagnostic reasoning is often shaped by the history provided” of an abused child patient, usually by the parent or guardian, “a misleading history can misdirect the diagnostic process and result in an incorrect diagnosis.”

In a study of fractures in 52 abused children under 3 years of age, in only 1 instance did a parent initially report a case of child abuse.”

In nearly 9 out of 10 cases the most common victims’ history as reported by the parent or caretaker was a fall or abnormality, such as a seizure, in explaining the fracture or sibling abuse.

Another study of undetected maltreatment found that in nearly one-third of the cases of head injuries in toddlers and babies caused by child abuse, doctors failed to notice the injuries.” This was particularly true when such injuries occurred in white children from two-parent households.

The study found that doctors even failed to detect life threatening problems such as brain hemorrhaging and skull fractures. The researchers contended that 80 percent of the child fatality victims of injuries due to child maltreatment might have lived had the abuse been recognized sooner.

Supporting these findings of misidentification of child abuse are two other studies.

In C. Jenny and colleagues’ analysis of a study on doctors’ failure to recognize head injuries caused by child abuse, it was found that nearly 1 in 3 children under the age of 3 with a final diagnosis of child abuse related head injury had visited a physician at least once previously and there had been a misdiagnosis of the injuries.

Twenty-eight of the victims were reinjured as a result and 4 child deaths may have been averted with an earlier correct diagnosis.

The National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse found that 41 percent of abused children who died between 1995 and 1997 had been seen by staff from child protective services agencies.

Reflecting on the misconceptions about child abuse with respect to the socio-economics and race factors, the study reported that physicians frequently misdiagnosed abuse in nearly 40 percent of head injury cases due to child maltreatment in white children or children from two-parent families, while not identifying the abuse in around 20 percent of cases involving minority children or children living in single parent homes.

Elder Abuse Related Injuries

Similar to child victims of abuse, elderly abuse victims are vulnerable to an incorrect or improper diagnosis by physicians of injuries due to familial or custodial abuse or neglect.

Clinicians for elderly patients frequently ignore signs of maltreatment often “attributable to the normal process of aging.

Recurrent fractures, for instance, may be automatically ascribed to the brittle bones of osteoporosis. Malnourishment may be attributed to the nutritional problems and poor appetite that often accompany old age.

This unfortunate misinterpretation of elderly victimization, along with the difficulty in getting victims to report abuse, makes it all the more critical for medical personnel to be able to recognize and treat such maltreatment for what it is.

The same sense of urgency holds true for properly diagnosing all forms of family violence.

More education and training is needed across the board in the medical community in understanding and identifying familial and intimate-related battering and sexual abuse, asking the right questions of victims, reporting suspected cases of violence in the home to authorities, and properly diagnosing and treating domestic violence, child abuse, and elderly abuse victims.


 

cps, foster care
The Truth About Aging Out of Foster Care

Foster-Care-Facts-and-Statistics-696x2302.jpg

Source: view original content here

When this occurs, the child will be placed into the foster care system.

More than 250,000 children are placed into the foster care system in the United States every year.

Aging Out of Foster Care

We are making some promises to these children when we place them into foster care. We are telling them that they are getting the chance to create a better life for themselves.

They are promised a safe home where they can have a family that can be called their own.

For many children, these promise are just empty words that have no meaning.

As the statistics show, many foster kids are aging out of the system and have nowhere to turn.

  • More than 23,000 children will age out of the US foster care system every year.

  • After reaching the age of 18, 20% of the children who were in foster care will become instantly homeless.

  • Only 1 out of every 2 foster kids who age out of the system will have some form of gainful employment by the age of 24.

  • There is less than a 3% chance for children who have aged out of foster care to earn a college degree at any point in their life.

  • 7 out of 10 girls who age out of the foster care system will become pregnant before the age of 21.

  • The percentage of children who age out of the foster care system and still suffer from the direct effects of PTSD: 25%.

  • Tens of thousands of children in the foster care system were taken away from their parents after extreme abuse.

  • 8% of the total child population of the United States is represented by reports of abuse that are given to authorities in the United States annually.

  • In 2015, more than 20,000 young people — whom states failed to reunite with their families or place in permanent homes.

One of the biggest problems that social workers face today is a stigma that people have regarding what they do.

Many people see child protection workers as vengeful, hateful people who just want to take kids away from their parents and families.

The sad truth is that over 6 million children are at a high risk of being abused by their families annually and this is represented by the over 3 million reports of possible abuse that are filed every year.

We know that children thrive in families and that is why we want kids to be placed into foster care instead of an institution.

The problem is that the temporary solution of foster care has become a permanent solution and 10% of the kids that are placed into the system age out of it without every really getting the chance to heal.

Is Violence Against Children A Hidden American Epidemic?

  • substantiated child abuse will become the victim of abuse again within 6 months.

If 7 out of 10 foster kids say that they want to pursue college, then why are we finding ways to limit them?

A college education allows for a number of advantages that can help these kids find happiness, even though their childhood may not have been as fun as some of their peers.

These kids want to change their lives, yet a vast majority of them will never even get to see college.

Only 6% of kids who age out of the system will attend an institution of higher learning and only 50% of them will be able to graduate with a degree.

What is the end result?

These kids give up hope, stop caring, and are at a higher risk of repeating the cycle of violence with their own children one day that led to their placement in foster care in the first place.

Foster Kids Aren’t Always Placed Into Foster Homes

  • Despite the promises of the foster care system, as of 2012, more than 58,000 children in the U.S. foster care system were placed in institutions or group homes.

  • 75% of women and 33% of men receive government benefits to meet basic needs after they age out of the system.

  • 1 out of every 2 kids who age out of the system will develop a substance dependence.

  • States spent a mere 1.2-1.3% of available federal funds on parent recruitment and training services even though 22% of children in foster care had adoption as their goal.

  • Adopted children make-up roughly 2% of the total child population under the age of 18.

  • Children who are adopted make up over 10% of the total referrals for child therapy.

  • 55% of these children who wind up being legally emancipated by the foster care system have had 3 or more placements over their childhood.

  • 33% of children had changed elementary schools 5 or more times, causing them to fall behind academically and lose friends that they had made in the process.

  • There is a direct correlation to the age of a child who enters foster care and their likelihood of being successfully discharged to a permanent home instead of being legally emancipated.

There is more than just the problem of worthless parents when it comes to the modern foster care system – parents who abuse their children are worthless.

There is also the problem of foster families not being able to access the resources that kids need because of a lack of funding… or a lack of desire to do so.

Kids who are taken out of violent homes not only face the struggle of missing their parents and living in a strange environment, but there may be PTSD and other mental health issues present as well.

Foster kids will blow out of homes because the tools aren’t in place to help them cope and there isn’t enough patience within the foster family to allow for the natural grieving process to take place.

When parents, foster families, and the system at large fail these kids and they age out of the system,

is it any wonder why so many struggle to make their way in the world?

Are Things Getting Worse Instead of Better?

  • In 2012, there were approximately 679,000 instances of confirmed child maltreatment from the over 3 million reports generated.
  • The overall national child victim rate was 9.2 child victims per 1,000 children in the US population.
  • State child victim rates vary dramatically in the United States, ranging from 1.2 child victims per 1,000 children to 19.6 child victims per 1,000 children.
  • African-American children had the highest rates of victimization at 14.2 victims per 1,000 children in that racial group’s overall child population.
  • Asian children had the lowest rates, with 1.7 victims per 1,000.
  • Between 2002 and 2012, the number of children in care on the last day of the fiscal year decreased by 24.2%, or by over 130,000 children.
  • The annual rate of children who are discharged out of the foster system without a successful placement: 13%.
  • Children with a diagnosed disability of any kind, including a learning disability, are twice as likely to age out of the foster care system.
  • Kids who enter the foster care system after the age of 12 have a 2 in 5 chance of being legally emancipated at the age of 18 from the system.
  • More than 20% of the children who are currently in foster care are aged 3 or younger.
  • African-American children make up 20% of the foster care population, which is about double the amount of maltreatment reports that are generated for their racial demographic annually.
  • More than 40% of the children who reach the age of 18 while in foster care were in the system for more than 3 years.

Even when foster care isn’t the best solution, it is often still better than the maltreatment that was being experienced at home.

In the United States, the median measurements of child maltreatment are over 5% annually.

In foster car, the median measurement for maltreatment is just 0.32%.

In practical terms, this means that a child in the US is about 15x more likely to be abused in their home then in a foster home.

From this standpoint, we can honestly say that we are providing a safer environment for children, but we need to do more than just provide safety.

We need to be able to provide areas of growth so that these kids can have the tools they need in order to find success in the pursuit of their own dream

What Can We Do To Help Facilitate Change?

  • In 2012, only 4.5% of children who were adopted out of foster care were placed in the system for fewer than 12 months.

  • The percentage of children adopted in less than 12 months out of foster care in 2009: 3.6%.

  • More than 85% of children in foster care have had a minimum of two different placement settings within the first 12 months of being placed in the system.

  • 11% of children who are placed into a permanent setting outside of foster care will re-enter the system within 12 months.

  • Only 32.6% of adoptions from foster care occur within the first 2 years of a child being placed into the system.

  • Less than 70% of the cases of founded child maltreatment had a response time that was less than 48 hours for an intervention.

  • 30.4% of incidents were responded to by caseworkers in 24 hours or less.

  • 73% of the cases of child maltreatment are due to neglect.

  • Kids between the ages of 0-7 make up more than half of all child maltreatment reports that are generated in the United States every year.

  • 48.9% of the reports are generated from families that are Caucasian.

  • More than 6% of children who are placed into foster care have been sexually abused by a parent or family member.

child custody, cps
Are you dealing with CPS or a Child Custody Case? Help is Available!

During this holiday season, It’s Almost Tuesday wishes the best in all things for children and their families.

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We wish there were no bad foster homes.

We wish CPS had no over zealous case workers.

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We wish couples stayed happily married with no divorces.

We wish there was no such thing as parental alienation syndrome or parental kidnapping.

Custody-Battle

We wish for the end of alot of bad things, but there is a reality that wishes can’t erase.

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If you are facing CPS, or a divorce and children are involved there IS HELP AVAILABLE.

Do you know someone in a custody dispute?

What a better gift to give a loved one who is facing a child custody case or court battle but peace of mind?

We want to help you find the answers that you need to fight for your rights and your kids and succeed.

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Win in court.
Check out our new page with a library of books and guides on just about any topics you could think of.

Tell your friends.

The kids who need it the most will thank you one day.

It’s our wish that we would all be nice to each other in every way possible, but if you have no choice and nice isn’t an option, be ready.
GET HELP NOW!

Uncategorized
Family believes bullying, ADHD medication played role in 9-year-old girl’s suicide
A 9 year old CHILD should NEVER have suicidal ideations!STOP drugging children and give them love and appropriate discipline instead. Give them direction in life, lead them by being a good example. 

Give them self esteem and goals in life. Give them hope ..

I remember when I was told by CPS that my son, who was in foster care at the time, was having adverse reactions to psychotropic drugs they were giving him.  I was irate .

First of all my son had never taken psychotropic medications before foster care.

I do not believe psychotropic meds are good for kids in any situation! (or adults for that matter).

Second of all they were giving my son drugs after saying drugs was the reason they took him.

I said to the caseworker, “why are you drugging my child?”

” He’s very angry”, she answered.

” Well of course he is angry…” I began. ..

” You took him away from his home … I am angry too! You didn’t answer my question, why are you drugging my child?”

She pauses then sheepishly began talking ” Ms Murphy … let’s calm down and talk about your son’s anger…

“calm down? No! Let’s talk abou why the f*ck you are drugging my son? Did you call and talk to HIS REGULAR therapist not the so called CPS contract doctor?

did you send him to church? Did you? “

“Um no ma’am we cannot… we do not take children in foster homes to church”.

“Why not??” I demanded to know …

“We are not allowed to” she stated.

“Not allowed to?? But you ARE ALLOWED TO GIVE HIM DRUGS?”

She was stammering by now…”Ms Murphy-were trying to… we are here to help you…”

“No you’re not- I taught my son to turn to me with his problems or to pray about what’s bothering him…i taught him to stand still with God when he got angry, not to turn to drugs when he was angry.

Why are you teaching him to turn to drugs? are you trying to make him an addict? so you can take HIS kids from him one day too?? And you’re calling ME a bad parent? Really?”

I’ll never forget that conversation. so when I read about instances like this suicide I must share my experiences.

May peace find this child’s family.  

The parents of a 9-year-old Alabama girl who took her own life believe that bullying and ADHD medication played a role in her death.

According to AL.com,Madison “Maddie” Whittsett, of Birmingham, was pronounced dead at Children’s of Alabama Monday morning. The Friday before, her mother found her hanging in her bedroom closet.


“We don’t want this to happen to anyone else,’’ Madison’s stepfather, Birmingham Fire and Rescue Service Lt. Jimmie Williams, told AL.com.

“We talked to one of her friends and Maddie had apparently had a bad day. The friend said Maddie was bullied and she looked sad while she was being bullied,’’ Jimmie Williams said. “It must have really worn her out that day.”

Her mother, Eugenia Williams, said Maddie had been diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and received one-on-one help at her school. There had been incidents in which other students called her “stupid” and “dumb” but her parents felt like the issue had been addressed.

Just a few weeks ago, Maddie’s parents said she had been started on a medication to help with her ADHD that listed a side effect of possibly causing suicidal thoughts.

“The bullying plus the medicine, I think, gave her the boost to do that,’’ Jimmie Williams said.

The Williams hope Maddie’s story will help other parents.

“Maybe you can see if anything is going on. Look for changes in attitude. Changes in behavior,’’ Jimmie Williams said. “Support them and be there for them.”

He also hopes children will let adults know if they see a peer being bullied: “Like they always say, ‘If you see something, say something.’’’

Birmingham City Schools released this statement Tuesday afternoon: “Our school community is deeply saddened by the recent passing of a student. Counselors and district-level support staff, trained to help students, parents and school personnel at difficult times such as this, have been on-site at the impacted school today to provide assistance to students and staff in needed of support in processing this tragedy. The death of any young person is a tragic loss that impacts the whole school community, and we send our deepest condolences to the family.”

Eugenia Williams remembers her daughter as “alive, energetic, funny,” and said she loved to dance. Jimmie Williams said the suicide “came out of left field.”

“She just wanted to be your friend. She wanted to be everybody’s friend and wanted everyone to be happy,’’ he said. “We saw that in everything she did.”

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

 

drug abuse
Can Parents Lose Custody Over Legal Marijuana Use? Absolutely.

Source: Click here for original content


Scientific research confirms that most people who smoke marijuana before they have kids still occasionally get high after they become parents, and anecdotal research confirms that THC can make pushing a stroller through the park chill as hell. It is also a relatively safe stimulant in that if parents don’t hide it effectively — it’s really not that hard, get a kid-proof containermarijuana poses no serious medical risk to children.

But for parents in the throesw of a divorce, moderate, responsible, and even legal pot use represents a very real hazard. Despite shifting cultural and legal norms, marijuana consumption can and does come up in custody negotiations.

“If it’s a really bitter divorce or separation, you may see one party that’s the non-marijuana user call Child Protective Services, or at the very least threaten to,” explains Nicholas Dowgul, a North Carolina-based divorce attorney.

There are two basic ways a parent can have their custodial rights compromised by marijuana use.

The first involves the intervention of Child Protective Services, which typically assesses a parent’s use after receiving a tip (one can guess where such tips come from).

The other, more common scenario is during a contentious divorce. Though this may vary slightly based on state laws, past cases suggest that marijuana can cause custody problems even when it’s legal.

In 2016, a California father who used medical marijuana prescribed by a doctor after a car accident petitioned for custody of his baby and was forced by CPS (acting on a tip) to take a drug test that he failed. Instead of going home with his dad, the child, who the mother could no longer care for, was put into foster care.
In another case, a grandmother in Maine who sought to obtain custody of her grandchildren was denied because she was using medical marijuana for back pain.

Those children have been in state custody for a year.

Still, there’s a limited amount of case law marijuana and custody issues, making outcomes hard to predict. In states where marijuana is illegal, if a complaint is lodged by the other parent as part of a custody dispute, that parent would not have to prove the drug endangered a child. In states where weed is legal, they presumably would have to prove harm or risk (driving under the influence, leaving marijuana where kids can access it, or abusing it to the point of mental instability).

Still, it’s hard to know exactly what that means in practice other than that it’s likely a smoker with a contentious relationship with a former partner would be subjected to a drug test.

Ultimately, Dowgul explains, it comes down to a judge’s discretion.

In states where weed is legal, they presumably would have to prove harm or risk (driving under the influence, leaving marijuana where kids can access it, or abusing it to the point of mental instability).

Still, it’s hard to know exactly what that means in practice other than that it’s likely a smoker with a contentious relationship with a former partner would be subjected to a drug test.

Ultimately, Dowgul explains, it comes down to a judge’s discretion.

Uncategorized
Texas Child Protective Services Drug and Drug Testing Policy

(Knowledge is power)

Source: TDPRS Substance Abuse Policy

1923 Testing for Substance Abuse

1923.1 Detection Periods for Substance Abuse

For detection periods, see Appendix 1922.1: Detection Periods for Abused Substances.

1923.2 Diluted Samples Obtained During Testing

A diluted sample indicates that a client drank a large amount of water at some time before the drug test.

When the lab indicates that a sample is diluted, the caseworker can take one the following actions to arrive at a conclusion about the client’s use:

• Have the client retested

• Request a different type of testing, such as requesting a hair follicle test instead of a urine test

• Rely on credible evidence obtained through observation, information from collateral sources (such as a teacher, neighbor, or family doctor), and the case history

1923.3 Instant (Swab) Tests and Court Hearings
An instant test is a swabbing of a client’s oral fluids. The test is performed by a caseworker to test for recent drug use. If possible, the test results are confirmed by a laboratory.

Using the Tests in Court

Before presenting the results of instant swab tests as evidence in court, the caseworker must obtain confirmation from a laboratory.

1923.4 Using Acceptable Contractors to Obtain Test Results

DFPS accepts lab test results from physicians, hospitals, the legal system (such as the adult probation department), and providers of substance abuse treatment in order to assess safety and to assess the need for services and treatment.

1923.5 Frequency of Random Substance Abuse Testing

In general, the caseworker may conduct random drug tests when substance abuse laboratory testing is allowed under 1920 Substance Abuse Testing; that is, when:

• a case is scheduled for closure;

• reunification of the child with his or her family is contemplated;

• there are changes in the parent’s appearance, behavior, or affect;

• new information is received about possible substance abuse;

• the client has terminated substance abuse treatment;

• the client shows signs of returning to seeking and using drugs, including associating with former friends and family members who use drugs; keeping drug paraphernalia in the home; or making statements minimizing or denying having a problem with drugs or alcohol;

• the client refuses to create a relapse safety plan (see 1966 Developing a Safety Plan in Case a Client Relapses);

• the client minimizes or denies seeking and using drugs seeking and after test results come back positive;

• there are signs that abstinence is being threatened; for example, when a client increases the amount of alcohol consumed or begins to smoke cigarettes frequently to relieve anxiety;

• the client has made minimal or no effort to mitigate the substance abuse related problems that led to abuse and neglect;

• the client is not involved in substance abuse treatment or aftercare, even though it was recommended; and

• the regional substance abuse specialist recommends testing.

Hair Follicle Testing

The caseworker determines the frequency with which random hair follicle testing may be conducted, by following regional protocols.

1923.6 Situations Not Appropriate for Drug Testing

It is not appropriate for a caseworker to arrange for drug testing when a parent is:

• actively involved in substance abuse treatment and the treatment provider conducts random testing that is based on laboratory confirmation.

• randomly tested by another entity, such as a probation department or drug court, and the test is confirmed by a laboratory. The caseworker must check into the frequency of testing by the other entity, before random testing is discontinued by CPS.

1923.7 Discontinuing Drug Testing

The caseworker must discuss with the supervisor and the client’s treatment provider when contemplating discontinuing routine drug testing.

The discontinuation or modification of routine drug testing may be considered when:

• A parent does not exhibit substance seeking and using behaviors (for example, when associating with former friends or family members who use drugs; keeping drug paraphernalia in the home; or making statements minimizing or denying having a problem with drugs or alcohol); and

• The parent has a consistent pattern of negative tests results.

1923.8 Assessing Test Results or Accepting an Admission

Positive Result

The caseworker must assess a positive drug test result in relationship to the child’s safety and risk. The result must be discussed with the parent in a timely manner.

If a parent with a positive drug result is not engaged in substance abuse treatment and is actively parenting a child, the caseworker refers the parent to:

• a provider of outreach, screening, assessment, and referral (OSAR) services or

• a provider of substance abuse treatment.

The threshold that makes a referral appropriate is based on the definition of a child not being safe.

That is, a child is not safe when:

• threats or dangers exist in the family that are related to substance use;

• the child is vulnerable to such threats; and

• the parent who is using substances does not have sufficient protective capacities to manage or control threats.

Client Admission

A client’s verbal or written admission is accepted as a positive result of drug use; however good casework practice calls for getting the client to sign a statement of use.

Testing to Rule Out Under-Reporting

If a client admits to drug use, is not engaged in treatment, and is actively parenting children, the caseworker may consider referring the client to a substance abuse provider for screening, assessment, or treatment.

Referral may be necessary because clients sometimes under-report drug use or do not admit to all of the substances that they have used.

Clients likewise may under-report:

• the frequency with which they use dugs,

• the quantity of drugs they use, and

• the amount of money they spend on the drugs.

Negative Result

When the result of a parent’s drug test is negative, the caseworker:

• notifies the parent about the result in a timely manner; and

• encourages the parent’s abstinence and provides positive feedback.

Refusal to Test

When testing is appropriate under 1920 Substance Abuse Testing, but the client refuses to take a drug test, the caseworker must document the refusal to be tested.

If a parent refuses to take a drug test or refuses to allow a child who is an alleged perpetrator to be tested, the caseworker consults with the supervisor in a staffing meeting. The supervisor may recommend legal intervention, if the evidence raises concern for the child’s safety.

For cases under court jurisdiction, the caseworker must notify the judge and attorneys about the client’s refusal to test.

When testing is appropriate under 1920 Substance Abuse Testing, the caseworker must document any prescribed medication that the client is taking.

The documentation may be made by:

• completing a regional form; or

• entering the details in the Contact Narrative in the IMPACT system.

The caseworker must share the information about the client’s medication with the lab’s medical review officer (MRO).

1924 Special Situations Related to Substance Abuse

1924.1 Methadone and Prescription Medication

Methadone

If the parent tests positive for methadone, the caseworker:

• obtains a release (Form 2062Word Document DFPS Release of Confidential Information to DSHS/Substance Abuse Services) from the parent;

• verifies with the methadone clinic, that the parent has a prescription for methadone and is taking methadone as prescribed; and

• assesses the effect that the methadone dosage has on the parent’s ability to provide consistent and safe supervision of the children.

Prescription Medicine

Similar to methadone, the caseworker must assess the effect that prescription medications have on a parent’s ability to provide supervision and to keep children safe.

To determine whether the client is taking his or her medication as prescribed, the caseworker must check with the client’s medical provider.

For the caseworker to obtain the information from the medical provider, the client needs to sign a consent-to-release form (Form 2062Word Document DFPS Release of Confidential Information to DSHS/Substance Abuse Services).

If the client refuses to sign the release form, the caseworker consults with the supervisor about whether to request legal intervention.

1924.2 The Infectious Client

If the caseworker is concerned that a client may have an infectious disease, the caseworker, with the supervisor’s approval, refers the client to a local drug-testing facility for a urine test in lieu of an oral test.

Testing Within 48 Hours

The client must be tested within 48 hours after the contact with the caseworker.

1924.3 Drug Use During a Parent-Child Visit or FGDM Conference

A court order supersedes the following DFPS policies.

Parent-Child Visit

If a parent appears to be under the influence of a controlled substance and or alcohol, the parent-child visit must not occur.

Family Group Decision Making (FGDM) Conferences

A parent or participant who is visibly intoxicated during a family group decision making (FGDM) conference, must be excused from the conference.

The caseworker does not administer an oral test during the FGDM conference. Any required testing occurs at the end of the meeting and preferably at a location away from the FGDM immediate site.

For policy on the testing of youth, see 1951 Children and Adolescents Who Smoke Marijuana, Use Other Drugs, or Drink Alcohol.

The existence of a positive drug result in the case record does not automatically exclude a parent from visiting with the child or attending a FGDM. The caseworker needs to weigh the benefits of the visit or attendance when confronted with a positive drug reading in the case record.

If the child will not be in danger, the visit or participation may be allowed.

1924.4 The Court Testimony of the Medical Review Officer

Because of the high costs, testimony provided by technicians, medical review officers (MRO), or other personnel employed by drug testing facilities is reserved for extreme circumstances; for example, parental termination hearings in substitute care cases when a judge rehuttoquires testimony in person.

Alternatives to consider before requesting court room testimony from a representative of a drug testing laboratory include:

• depositions at locations near the drug testing laboratory; and

• testimony provided via teleconference.

If DFPS concludes that court room testimony is necessary from a representative of a drug testing laboratory, the DFPS region requiring the testimony:

• negotiates payment rates;

• negotiates travel expenses;

• renders payment for court-related services; and

• renders payment for testimony provided by a representative of a drug-testing laboratory.

1930 Casework Practice for Substance Abuse Cases

1931 Overview of Casework

Practice for Substance Abuse Cases
1931.1 The Definition of a Drug

The word drug, as used in this policy, refers to:

• controlled substances;

• prescriptions;

• over-the-counter medications; and

• alcohol.

1931.2 Obtaining Diagnostic Classifications From Professionals

When a client appears to be using drugs, the caseworker refers the client to professionals for in depth screening, assessment, or treatment.

The caseworker does not make any diagnostic classifications regarding the criteria of drug or alcohol use by the client. Classifications are made by licensed professionals.

For a summary of the criteria, see Appendix 1931.2: Criteria for Diagnosing Substance Abuse.

1931.3 Guiding Principles of Drug Testing

Administering a drug test does not change the protocols for conducting an investigation or for performing casework. The caseworker does not rely solely on a drug test to arrive at a conclusion or make a decision in a case.

The caseworker considers the entire case, including:

• both the negative and positive results of drug tests; and

• all other evidence, such as statements from collateral witnesses (such as teachers, neighbors, and family doctors), the effect of any drug use on the children in the case, and the ability of the parent to protect the child.

1931.4 Marijuana Policy

In compliance with Texas law and the schedules of controlled substances required by the Department of State Health Services, DFPS considers marijuana a Schedule I Controlled Substance that is illegal.

Medical Marijuana

The State of Texas and DFPS do not recognize the use of medical marijuana, whether taken in pill form or by smoking. DFPS views marijuana as analogous to any other illegal substance or the use of alcohol as it relates to a child’s safety.

1931.5 Determining Safety and Risk When Marijuana, Other Substances, or Alcohol Are Present

Caseworkers need to determine whether the use of marijuana, other illegal substances, or alcohol:

• puts a child in situations of danger or harm; or

• places the child at risk for abuse or neglect.

Immediate Safety

In assessing the child’s immediate safety, the caseworker assesses the following:

• Parental behavior – For instance, erratic behavior that makes the parent appear unable to protect the child, or the inability to separate reality from hallucinations.

• Physical signs of impairment – For example, in the case of marijuana use, the physical signs of impairment could include altered perception, dilated pupils, lack of concentration and coordination, craving for sweets, increased hunger, laughter, slowed thinking, slowed reaction time, and respiratory infections (The caseworker may also notice the smell of burned rope. Physical impairment indicates that threats are present, the child is vulnerable, and the parent does not have sufficient protective capacities to deal with the threats to the child’s safety. For more information, see, Appendix 1931.1: Physical Signs and Symptoms of Drug or Alcohol Use.

• The lack of a sober, protective parent present who possesses sufficient protective capacities to mitigate threats.

• A child’s age and level of vulnerability as a measure of the extent to which threats or risk of harm are present.

• Whether the basic needs of child are being met; for example, determining whether the child is so severely neglected due to the parent’s substance use or abuse that the child needs immediate medical attention.

• Accessibility to substances – A child’s accessibility to marijuana, other substances, prescriptions drugs, or alcohol makes the child vulnerable to threats or dangers.

• physical safety – The extent to which the living environment creates the condition for threats or harm to the child; for example, a child living in a home where Methamphetamine is cooked.

Risk in Foreseeable Future

To assess the risk of abuse and neglect in the foreseeable future, if CPS were no longer involved, the following tasks are completed by the caseworker:

• Conduct a full risk assessment

• Talk to collaterals, especially school officials or child care staff

• Assess for prior CPS history, criminal history, and substance abuse history

• Assess for prior or current participation in treatment programs

• Review mental health, psychiatric history, or both

• Determine when the parent last used a substance

• Ask the parent about the friends and family members that visit the home in relationship to their drug use and history

• Ask about the presence of a sober protective caregiver who has sufficient protective capacities to manage threats

1932 Screening and Assessing for Substance Abuse

1932.1 Screening for Substance Abuse

Questionnaires

Using a simple screening questionnaires, the caseworker determines whether a parent is in need of further screening, assessment, or treatment for substance abuse.

The following questionnaires are easy screenings for the caseworker to administer:

• CAGE(Cut Down, Annoyed, Guilty, and Eye-Opener)

• UNCOPE (Using, Neglected, Cut Down, Objected, Preoccupied, and Emotional)

Considerations

The caseworker also considers the following as further intervention when a client indicates that he or she is using marijuana or other controlled substances, or is using alcohol in a way that threatens the child’s safety:

• Observation

• Medical, criminal, and substance abuse histories

• Collateral reports

• Examination of the living environment

• Information from the case record

Timeframe

A screening for drug or alcohol use can be conducted in any stage of the case.

1932.2 Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

When appropriate, the caseworker may administer either of the following screening questionnaires when interviewing a pregnant mother who is alleged to be drinking alcohol while pregnant:

• T-ACE (Tolerance, Annoyance, Cut Down, and Eye-Opener)

• TWEAK (Tolerance, Worry, Eye-Opener, Amnesia, and Cut Down)

The T-ACE and the TWEAK questionnaires help identify the risk of alcohol use during pregnancy. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can damage the embryo or fetus.

If the questionnaire indicates that a pregnant mother is drinking alcohol, the caseworker refers her to a health clinic or physician.

1932.3 Drug Use Outside of the Home

A caseworker considers a parent’s drug use as he or she would any other evidence in a case; that is, the caseworker considers it along with all other available evidence when:

• making a disposition;

• evaluating a parent’s need for treatment; or

• assessing the safety of a child.

Whether the drug use occurs inside or outside the home must not automatically lead the caseworker to one conclusion or another. Each case must be reviewed and addressed individually; for example, whether the parent tests positive for or admits to using marijuana, other illegal substances, or alcohol either outside of the home or outside of the presence of the children (for example, if the parent smoked marijuana at a party that was held away from the home).

In arriving at a disposition, the caseworker follows the statutory definitions of abuse and neglect. It is the effect that the marijuana smoking, drug use, or alcohol use have on the child and the child’s safety that guides the disposition, rather than purely the parent’s use of the substance.

To arrive at a disposition, the caseworker takes into account that a child’s safety is based on:

• the child’s vulnerability;

• the threats of danger within the family; and

• the capacity of a protective caregiver.

1940 Establishing Protective Measures When a Child Is Threatened by Substance Abuse

When a child’s safety is threatened by a client’s use of marijuana, other substances, or alcohol, or when there is a risk that the child’s safety could be threatened, the caseworker puts protective measures into place.

The table below lists some of the protective measures the caseworker can consider:

Protective Measure

Interventions

Related Definitions

Ensure the child’s immediate safety

• Safety assessment

• Safety plan

• Parental-child safety placement (voluntary placement by the parent, as opposed to by a court order)

• Conservatorship removal

Safe child:

Vulnerable children are safe when there are no threats of danger within the family or when the parents possess sufficient capacity to manage threats and protect the child.

Help client achieve and maintain abstinence

• Random drug testing

• Physician-prescribed medications to treat a drug or alcohol addiction

• Detoxification

Refraining from the use of alcohol or other drugs.

(Abstinence from alcohol applies to parents who have endangered a child’s safety when drinking)

Develop a relapse safety plan

• Network of abstinent and sober friends and family members

• Identified friend or family member to protect the child

Plan to provide safety for the child, if the parent contemplates a relapse or experiences a relapse

Seek judicial oversight

• Motion to participate

• Order in aid of investigation

• Family treatment drug court

• Petition for temporary managing conservatorship

Involvement of the court to mitigate problems of substance abuse and child safety

Develop reliable sources of support

• TANF

• Protective day care

• Medicaid

• Employment or job training

• Food stamps

• Housing or public housing

Having tangible resources that enable a parent to recover, or to improve enough to meet the parent’s and family’s financial and basic needs.

Guide parenting and child development

• Parenting class

• Participation in ECI (Early Childhood Intervention)

Having knowledge about parenting, child development, and alternative forms of discipline

1950 Newborns, Children, and Youth Who Are Exposed to Drugs or Alcohol
1951 Children and Adolescents Who Smoke Marijuana, Use Other Drugs, or Drink Alcohol

1951.1 Youth Who Are Not in DFPS Conservatorship and Are Not Unemancipated

Unless legally married or otherwise legally emancipated, a youth is not considered an adult until the age of 18, even if the youth is a parent.

Guiding Principle

Court orders requiring drug testing supersede the guiding principle below.

When a caseworker becomes aware that a child or adolescent is smoking marijuana, using drugs, or drinking alcohol, the caseworker treats the situation as a medical concern that must be addressed by the parent, just as any other medical concern must be.

Treating the situation as a medical concern assumes that a child using drugs is in need of protection. The intent is to:

• rule out any medical complications associated with drug exposure; and

• give the parent an opportunity to take ownership for the issues that may have led the child to use and help the child obtain any necessary treatment.

The caseworker does not administer drug tests to the child. If the allegation involves a child age 10 or older as an alleged perpetrator, the caseworker obtains written consent from the parent to send the child to a drug testing laboratory.

If the parent refuses to give written consent for the testing, the caseworker discusses with his or her supervisor the possibility of seeking legal intervention.

Parent Obtains Testing and Treatment for the Youth

The caseworker seeks to empower and encourage the parent to take responsibility to obtain testing, screening, assessment, or treatment for the child or adolescent, if it appears necessary.

Necessity is based on credible evidence that the youth might be using drugs or drinking alcohol; for example, a parent stating that a child or youth has been exposed to drugs or alcohol. As appropriate, the worker assists the parent in accessing substance abuse services through a medical clinic or provider, such as a primary care physician, health clinic, or emergency room.

If the medical provider recommends treatment, the caseworker assists the parent in accessing services in the community. Or, the worker refers the parent and child to a provider of outreach, screening, assessment, and referral (OSAR) services. The youth must be age 13 or older to be referred to OSAR. See 1912 Referring Clients to DSHS-Funded Substance Abuse Treatment.

The parent has the right to purchase over-the-counter drug tests as an initial step in arranging for the youth to be seen by a medical provider or OSAR.

1951.2 Children and Adolescents in DFPS Conservatorship

Guiding Principle

Due to the physical and psychological harm drug use may cause a child or youth, CPS practice is to take a medical approach when addressing the issue.

If a caseworker or medical consenter suspects that a child or youth may be using drugs, the caseworker or medical consenter may have the child tested only by a medical provider.

The caseworker and medical consenter:

• must not administer drug tests to the youth; and

• must not give permission for the youth to be tested initially by any entity that is not a medical provider.

Exception

If a youth is under the supervision of Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD) or the county juvenile probation department, the youth can be tested for drugs by the juvenile system.

Process

To have a youth tested by a medical provider, the caseworker the medical consenter, makes an appointment with the youth’s health care provider or primary care physician (PCP), just as he or she would if the youth were sick.

As in any medical emergency situation, if the youth appears to require immediate medical care, the youth must be taken to an emergency care facility. The caseworker or medical consenter then informs the health care provider or the PCP about the concern for the youth’s possible use or abuse of drugs or alcohol. The health care provider or PCP may refer the youth to a substance abuse professional.

At the time the youth is suspected to be using or abusing drugs or alcohol, the caseworker:

• collaborates with the regional DFPS substance abuse specialist and the DFPS well-being specialist to coordinate the most appropriate services for the youth’s individual needs;

• Follow the recommendation of qualified professionals in addressing the youth’s substance abuse issues, the caseworker incorporates the recommendations into the child’s plan of service and follow the treatment recommendations of the doctor or qualified professional, which may include residential treatment and rehabilitation services. When appropriate and available, the youth’s treatment services must be located within the youth’s community.

1951.3 Youth in Extended Care or Return to Care

Youth who are 18 years of age or older and are receiving extended care or return-to-care services are considered young adults. Young adults are subject to the drug testing policy for adults. While in a DFPS placement, the young adult must abide by the voluntary agreement that he or she signed to remain in conservatorship.

If it is suspected that a young adult is abusing substances, the caseworker:

• makes the appropriate referrals to services to assess whether substance abuse treatment is needed; and

• encourages the young adult to seek services.

1952 Newborns Exposed to Drugs or Alcohol
1952.1 Safety Plan for a Substance-Exposed Newborn

An allegation that a newborn has been exposed to drugs or alcohol could result in DFPS filing legal paperwork to be named the newborn’s temporary managing conservator.

The tasks the caseworker must accomplish in an open case are explained in the table below:

Stage of the Case

Task the Caseworker Completes

Investigation

Complete a risk assessment within 30 days of the birth of the newborn.

FBSS Home Visit

See 3000 Family Based Safety Services to determine the frequency of home visits.

Family Service Plan (FBSS or CVS)

For the timelines within which to complete or update a family service plan, see:

3000 Family Based Safety Services; and

6000 Substitute-Care Services.

During a home visit

Provide the parent with available information about:

• infant care and development,

• safe sleep precautions,

• SIDS reduction, and

• substance abuse

• parenting

• Early Childhood InterventionExternal Link (ECI) program of Texas Health & Human Services (HHS).

At any stage that is appropriate

Schedule a Family Team Meeting or a Family Group Conference.

See:

1121 Family Group Decision-Making (FGDM)

2440 Family Team Meetings

6251 Overview of Permanency Planning Meetings

Appendix 1100-1: Roles and Responsibilities of Family Group Decision-Making (FGDM) Staff

If services beyond the investigation are provided

Consider referring the mother (or the mother and newborn) to an inpatient substance abuse program.

Specify whether participation is voluntary or is based on CPS holding an order of Temporary Managing Conservatorship.

Note the referral in the family’s service plan.

Consider case for Family Drug Treatment Court if available in your region. See Appendix 1961: Family Drug Treatment Courts (FDTCs) for more information.

1960 Treatment for Drug and Alcohol Abuse
1961 Treatment Options for Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Regardless of the nature of treatment, caseworkers need to make appropriate referrals when drug use is present. See Appendix 1960: Treatment Options for Substance Abuse.

All treatment must meet the individual needs of each client. In selecting the treatment option, the caseworker considers:

• the type of substance use,

• progression of that use,

• prior attempts at treatment,

• drug use experience, and

• client’s motivation for treatment.

Clients respond differently to treatment. Treatment begins with abstinence; that is, refraining from alcohol or drugs that endanger a child’s safety and continues with a drug-free lifestyle. The longer the client is in treatment, the better the outcome for abstinence and a drug-free lifestyle, and the greater the chance that protective measures remain in place for the child’s safety.

1962 Education When Treatment Is Not Recommended by an OSAR Screener or Provider

If a service provider or screening substance abuse counselor does not recommend treatment for a client, and the caseworker is convinced (based on drug tests, or on information from collateral sources or the case record), that the client is in need of substance abuse services, the caseworker may consider:

• providing the client with substance abuse pamphlets and other educational materials about substance abuse;

• submitting the client to random drug tests; and

• referring the client to programs, such as Alcohol Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.

The caseworker may also appeal a denial. For more information about appealing a denial, see the regional substance abuse specialist. The CPS appeal process involving the OSAR can be found in Form 2062Word Document DFPS Release of Confidential Information to DSHS/Substance Abuse Services.

1963 When Treatment Is Unavailable, Resources Are Scarce, Waiting Lists Are Long, or the Distance Is Too Far to Travel

A lack of resources and other logistical circumstances may prevent a client from getting certain substance abuse services; however, the caseworker must not assume that there are no services that may be provided.

In such circumstances, while the caseworker cannot provide treatment, the caseworker:

• considers the options for intervention that areavailable to the client;

• works with the client to incorporate the options into an agreed-upon service plan; and

• obtains approval of the plan from the supervisor.

Developing the Substance Abuse Service Plan

In lieu of other resources, the caseworker may advise the client to take the following actions as part of the client’s substance abuse service plan:

• Join a community support group for people in recovery (for example, Alcoholic Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous).

• Obtain a medical assessment by a health clinic or physician (for example to determine whether substance abuse has harmed the client’s health, or to see whether there is medication that can help the client remain abstinent).

• Pass random drug tests conducted by the caseworker.

• Develop a relapse safety plan (see 1966 Developing a Safety Plan in Case a Client Relapses).

• Include protective measures in the client’s relapse safety plan. (See 1940 Establishing Protective Measures When a Child Is Threatened by Substance Abuse.)

• Read educational materials and handouts on substance abuse and recovery. (The following Web sites contain handouts and publications on substance abuse that the caseworker may share with clients.):

• Identify the triggers and actions needed to change past behaviors. (The following Web sites contain information on relapse prevention that the caseworker may share with clients):

• Self-report the days abstinent and the days monitored by a sober or abstinent family member.

• Obtain services at a mental heath clinic, if applicable.

• Self-report when recovery is threatened.

• Avoid the people, places, and things that can jeopardize abstinence and recovery (avoid situations, friends, family members, and locations that encouraged drug use in the past).

• Accept, at the insistence of the caseworker, that abstinence is the only acceptable behavior if the client is to be allowed to care for or be in the presence of his or her children; and that the client’s drug use has placed or places the children in danger.

1964 The Prevention and Early Intervention Program (PEI)

The goal of the Prevention and Early Intervention Program (PEI) is to preclude the involvement of CPS while providing services to families thereby preventing or removing conditions that could lead to child abuse and neglect.

PEI services are delivered to the client by local contractors throughout the state. When a caseworker believes that a family could benefit from services that would prevent or stop child abuse and neglect and the CPS case has been closed, a referral to PEI may be appropriate.

For the locations of PEI programs by county, see the DFPS intranet page on Prevention and Early Intervention.

1965 Indicators of Progress Made Toward Recovery

Recovery is a long process and, under the clauses of the Federal Adoption and Safe Families Act (P.L.105-89External Link), CPS’s involvement with a family is time limited; therefore a client’s caseworker and treatment providers must communicate frequently and remain cognizant of the time limits.

Indicators of progress that the caseworker can rely on in weighing the next step in the CPS case are whether the parent:

• attends and stays engaged in a substance abuse treatment program.

• participates in community recovery support groups, following the guidelines of 12-step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, and obtaining a sponsor, if applicable.

• achieves a period of abstinence.

• complies with the CPS service plan.

• complies with the CPS safety plan, if there is one.

• has developed a relapse safety plan. See 1966 Developing a Safety Plan in Case a Client Relapses.

• is achieving parenting goals.

• has established a pattern of negative results from drug tests .

• visits his or her children consistently and displays increased parental responsibility (if applicable).

• has changed past substance-abusing behaviors and has developed a network of sober, abstinent family members and friends.

• parent is employed (if applicable).

• has no new reports of criminal activity.

• has no new substantiated allegations of abuse and neglect that are related to substance abuse.

• takes prescribed psychotropic medications correctly (if applicable).

The key components of effective substance treatment in the CPS context are as follows:

• Maintaining abstinence

• Remaining involved in treatment or aftercare

• Acquiring and demonstrating parenting skills, including bonding with the children (for applicable parents).

• Mitigating the problems that led to the abuse and neglect that was caused by substance abuse.

• Developing a relapse safety plan.

1966 Developing a Safety Plan in Case a Client Relapses
CPS June 2010

Relapse is the return to the pattern of substance abuse or addiction, as well as the process during which indicators appear before the client’s resumption of substance use.

In the relapse safety plan the client spells out the steps he or she plans to take to ensure the safety of the children when relapse becomes an issue; for example, the client might state in the relapse safety plan that:

• he or she will place the children with CPS-approved family members or friends when experiencing a relapse; and

• the children will remain with the family members or friends until the client returns to abstinence and is once again engaged in treatment or aftercare services.

Any court orders supersede any actions stipulated by the client involving a voluntary caregiver in the relapse safety plan.

1960 Treatment for Drug and Alcohol Abuse
1961 Treatment Options for Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Regardless of the nature of treatment, caseworkers need to make appropriate referrals when drug use is present. See Appendix 1960: Treatment Options for Substance Abuse.

All treatment must meet the individual needs of each client. In selecting the treatment option, the caseworker considers:

• the type of substance use,

• progression of that use,

• prior attempts at treatment,

• drug use experience, and

• client’s motivation for treatment.

Clients respond differently to treatment. Treatment begins with abstinence; that is, refraining from alcohol or drugs that endanger a child’s safety and continues with a drug-free lifestyle. The longer the client is in treatment, the better the outcome for abstinence and a drug-free lifestyle, and the greater the chance that protective measures remain in place for the child’s safety.

1962 Education When Treatment Is Not Recommended by an OSAR Screener or Provider

If a service provider or screening substance abuse counselor does not recommend treatment for a client, and the caseworker is convinced (based on drug tests, or on information from collateral sources or the case record), that the client is in need of substance abuse services, the caseworker may consider:

• providing the client with substance abuse pamphlets and other educational materials about substance abuse;

• submitting the client to random drug tests; and

• referring the client to programs, such as Alcohol Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.

The caseworker may also appeal a denial. For more information about appealing a denial, see the regional substance abuse specialist. The CPS appeal process involving the OSAR can be found in Form 2062Word Document DFPS Release of Confidential Information to DSHS/Substance Abuse Services.

1963 When Treatment Is Unavailable, Resources Are Scarce, Waiting Lists Are Long, or the Distance Is Too Far to Travel

A lack of resources and other logistical circumstances may prevent a client from getting certain substance abuse services; however, the caseworker must not assume that there are no services that may be provided.

In such circumstances, while the caseworker cannot provide treatment, the caseworker:

• considers the options for intervention that areavailable to the client;

• works with the client to incorporate the options into an agreed-upon service plan; and

• obtains approval of the plan from the supervisor.

Developing the Substance Abuse Service Plan

In lieu of other resources, the caseworker may advise the client to take the following actions as part of the client’s substance abuse service plan:

• Join a community support group for people in recovery (for example, Alcoholic Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous).

• Obtain a medical assessment by a health clinic or physician (for example to determine whether substance abuse has harmed the client’s health, or to see whether there is medication that can help the client remain abstinent).

• Pass random drug tests conducted by the caseworker.

• Develop a relapse safety plan (see 1966 Developing a Safety Plan in Case a Client Relapses).

• Include protective measures in the client’s relapse safety plan. (See 1940 Establishing Protective Measures When a Child Is Threatened by Substance Abuse.)

• Read educational materials and handouts on substance abuse and recovery. (The following Web sites contain handouts and publications on substance abuse that the caseworker may share with clients.):

• Identify the triggers and actions needed to change past behaviors. (The following Web sites contain information on relapse prevention that the caseworker may share with clients):

• Self-report the days abstinent and the days monitored by a sober or abstinent family member.

• Obtain services at a mental heath clinic, if applicable.

• Self-report when recovery is threatened.

• Avoid the people, places, and things that can jeopardize abstinence and recovery (avoid situations, friends, family members, and locations that encouraged drug use in the past).

• Accept, at the insistence of the caseworker, that abstinence is the only acceptable behavior if the client is to be allowed to care for or be in the presence of his or her children; and that the client’s drug use has placed or places the children in danger.

1964 The Prevention and Early Intervention Program (PEI)

The goal of the Prevention and Early Intervention Program (PEI) is to preclude the involvement of CPS while providing services to families thereby preventing or removing conditions that could lead to child abuse and neglect.

PEI services are delivered to the client by local contractors throughout the state. When a caseworker believes that a family could benefit from services that would prevent or stop child abuse and neglect and the CPS case has been closed, a referral to PEI may be appropriate.

For the locations of PEI programs by county, see the DFPS intranet page on Prevention and Early Intervention.

1965 Indicators of Progress Made Toward Recovery

Recovery is a long process and, under the clauses of the Federal Adoption and Safe Families Act (P.L.105-89External Link), CPS’s involvement with a family is time limited; therefore a client’s caseworker and treatment providers must communicate frequently and remain cognizant of the time limits.

Indicators of progress that the caseworker can rely on in weighing the next step in the CPS case are whether the parent:

• attends and stays engaged in a substance abuse treatment program.

• participates in community recovery support groups, following the guidelines of 12-step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, and obtaining a sponsor, if applicable.

• achieves a period of abstinence.

• complies with the CPS service plan.

• complies with the CPS safety plan, if there is one.

• has developed a relapse safety plan. See 1966 Developing a Safety Plan in Case a Client Relapses.

• is achieving parenting goals.

• has established a pattern of negative results from drug tests .

• visits his or her children consistently and displays increased parental responsibility (if applicable).

• has changed past substance-abusing behaviors and has developed a network of sober, abstinent family members and friends.

• parent is employed (if applicable).

• has no new reports of criminal activity.

• has no new substantiated allegations of abuse and neglect that are related to substance abuse.

• takes prescribed psychotropic medications correctly (if applicable).

The key components of effective substance treatment in the CPS context are as follows:

• Maintaining abstinence

• Remaining involved in treatment or aftercare

• Acquiring and demonstrating parenting skills, including bonding with the children (for applicable parents).

• Mitigating the problems that led to the abuse and neglect that was caused by substance abuse.

• Developing a relapse safety plan.

1966 Developing a Safety Plan in Case a Client Relapses
CPS June 2010

Relapse is the return to the pattern of substance abuse or addiction, as well as the process during which indicators appear before the client’s resumption of substance use.

In the relapse safety plan the client spells out the steps he or she plans to take to ensure the safety of the children when relapse becomes an issue; for example, the client might state in the relapse safety plan that:

• he or she will place the children with CPS-approved family members or friends when experiencing a relapse; and

• the children will remain with the family members or friends until the client returns to abstinence and is once again engaged in treatment or aftercare services.

Any court orders supersede any actions stipulated by the client involving a voluntary caregiver in the relapse safety plan.

1970 Drug-Endangered Children
1971 Drug Raids to Protect Drug-Endangered Children

In compliance with the Memorandum of Understanding between DFPS and the Texas Alliance for Drug Endangered Children, the CPS caseworker’s role is to:

• respond to law enforcement, when notified about a drug-endangered child;

• accept control of the child from law enforcement or first responders taking control of a child must be consistent within the context of CPS general removal policies;

• arrange for appropriate decontamination;

• arrange for immediate and follow-up medical care;

• conduct an initial interview with the child;

• make placement decisions; and

• collaborate on an ongoing basis with law enforcement, medical personnel, and a criminal prosecutor.

See Appendix 1971: Protocol for Working With Drug-Endangered Children for more information on caseworker procedures for dealing with drug-endangered children.

1972 Safety Tips for Visiting Homes or Areas Where Substance Abuse Is Practiced

Visits to homes where marijuana, other controlled substances, and alcohol are present can present additional safety risks to caseworkers. In addition to the general precautions caseworkers need to take in making home visits, the following are precautions specific to the presence of substance abuse in the home:

If

a home is located in an area known for drug dealing …

before visiting the home:

• requests that a special investigator research, through law enforcement, the prevalence of criminal activity related to narcotics or violence that has taken place in the home; and

• requests that law enforcement officers assist when the caseworker goes to a home located in an area known for drug dealing.

one or both parents appear in the home to be intoxicated or incoherent …

• first ensures his or her own safety and the safety of the children;

• then calls law enforcement for assistance; and

• then calls the CPS supervisor for further guidance.

Considerations for Removal

A child is not removed simply because the parent is intoxicated. The caseworker weighs the following before deciding the action to take, when faced with an intoxicated parent:

• the child’s safety;

• the potential risk;

• the parent’s protective capacities; and

• CPS removal policies.

the caseworker suspects that he or she is in a home that is used as a drug factory, lab, or home where drugs are sold …

• calmly leaves the home; and

• calls law enforcement.

the caseworker observes drug use in the home …

does not take possession of the drug. CPS does not take possession of evidence. The caseworker calls law enforcement, if needed.

1973 Recognizing When a Caseworker Is Physically Exposed to Drugs

The caseworker needs to be familiar with some of the typical symptoms associated with drug exposure.

The symptoms the caseworker might experience if exposed to a drug substance are:

• shortness of breath;

• blue-colored skin;

• rapid breathing;

• anxiety;

• tightness in the chest;

• feeling fidgety; and

• pain when swallowing.

If the caseworker is exposed to a drug, he or she:

• seeks medical treatment, before taking any other steps; and then

• notifies his or her supervisor;

• completes, within one day of the incident, an Accident/Incident ReportExternal Link through the accessHR human resources system; and

• informs his or her physician about the suspected drug exposure.

Methamphetamine

If the caseworker suspects that he or she has been exposed to Methamphetamine, he or she contacts emergency medical personnel for decontamination and medical treatment.

1980 Assessing Substance Abuse

When assessing a client’s substance abuse, the caseworker does as follows:

• Assesses the nature of the client’s use (uses, abuses, is addicted, does not use)

• Assesses the effects of the client’s use on the client (physically, behaviorally, cognitively, socially, financially, and spiritually)

• Assesses the effects of the client’s use on his or her children (the prenatal effects, the effects on household safety, supervision, support systems, and any relationship to the children being physically abused, sexually abused, or neglected)

• Assesses the parent’s protective capacity

• Confirms the type of use (testing one of the following methods: instant swab, swab with confirmation, urine toxicology, or hair follicle test). For definitions, see 1922 Eligibility for Substance Abuse Testing.

1970 Drug-Endangered Children
1971 Drug Raids to Protect Drug-Endangered Children

In compliance with the Memorandum of Understanding between DFPS and the Texas Alliance for Drug Endangered Children, the CPS caseworker’s role is to:

• respond to law enforcement, when notified about a drug-endangered child;

• accept control of the child from law enforcement or first responders taking control of a child must be consistent within the context of CPS general removal policies;

• arrange for appropriate decontamination;

• arrange for immediate and follow-up medical care;

• conduct an initial interview with the child;

• make placement decisions; and

• collaborate on an ongoing basis with law enforcement, medical personnel, and a criminal prosecutor.

See Appendix 1971: Protocol for Working With Drug-Endangered Children for more information on caseworker procedures for dealing with drug-endangered children.

1972 Safety Tips for Visiting Homes or Areas Where Substance Abuse Is Practiced

Visits to homes where marijuana, other controlled substances, and alcohol are present can present additional safety risks to caseworkers. In addition to the general precautions caseworkers need to take in making home visits, the following are precautions specific to the presence of substance abuse in the home:

If …

then the caseworker …

a home is located in an area known for drug dealing …

before visiting the home:

• requests that a special investigator research, through law enforcement, the prevalence of criminal activity related to narcotics or violence that has taken place in the home; and

• requests that law enforcement officers assist when the caseworker goes to a home located in an area known for drug dealing.

one or both parents appear in the home to be intoxicated or incoherent …

• first ensures his or her own safety and the safety of the children;

• then calls law enforcement for assistance; and

• then calls the CPS supervisor for further guidance.

Considerations for Removal

A child is not removed simply because the parent is intoxicated. The caseworker weighs the following before deciding the action to take, when faced with an intoxicated parent:

• the child’s safety;

• the potential risk;

• the parent’s protective capacities; and

• CPS removal policies.

the caseworker suspects that he or she is in a home that is used as a drug factory, lab, or home where drugs are sold …

• calmly leaves the home; and

• calls law enforcement.

the caseworker observes drug use in the home …

does not take possession of the drug. CPS does not take possession of evidence. The caseworker calls law enforcement, if needed.

1973 Recognizing When a Caseworker Is Physically Exposed to Drugs

The caseworker needs to be familiar with some of the typical symptoms associated with drug exposure.

The symptoms the caseworker might experience if exposed to a drug substance are:

• shortness of breath;

• blue-colored skin;

• rapid breathing;

• anxiety;

• tightness in the chest;

• feeling fidgety; and

• pain when swallowing.

If the caseworker is exposed to a drug, he or she:

• seeks medical treatment, before taking any other steps; and then

• notifies his or her supervisor;

• completes, within one day of the incident, an Accident/Incident ReportExternal Link through the accessHR human resources system; and

• informs his or her physician about the suspected drug exposure.

Methamphetamine

If the caseworker suspects that he or she has been exposed to Methamphetamine, he or she contacts emergency medical personnel for decontamination and medical treatment.

1980 Assessing Substance Abuse
CPS June 2010

When assessing a client’s substance abuse, the caseworker does as follows:

• Assesses the nature of the client’s use (uses, abuses, is addicted, does not use)

• Assesses the effects of the client’s use on the client (physically, behaviorally, cognitively, socially, financially, and spiritually)

• Assesses the effects of the client’s use on his or her children (the prenatal effects, the effects on household safety, supervision, support systems, and any relationship to the children being physically abused, sexually abused, or neglected)

• Assesses the parent’s protective capacity

• Confirms the type of use (testing one of the following methods: instant swab, swab with confirmation, urine toxicology, or hair follicle test). For definitions, see 1922 Eligibility for Substance Abuse Testing.

cps, drug abuse
CPS has requested a drug test from you: now what?

Source : Bryan Fagan, attorney at law

to view original content click here.

You may have come under the radar of CPS after someone has placed an anonymous call to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

If the caller stated that you were using illegal drugs or that you were arrested for a drug-related offense then there is a good chance a caseworker will show up at your door asking that you take a drug test.

What is CPS?

CPS or the Child Protective Services is part of the Texas state agency, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

CPS is required by law to investigate reports of child abuse or neglect.

CPS has specific time requirements, deadlines, and hearing protocols set forth in Federal Law, the Texas Family Code, and TDFPS handbook.

This means if someone makes a report such as the one described in the above scenario and if there are children involved then a CPS caseworker will be tasked with investigating the report.

Who Called CPS?

Many times, the people who meet with me know who called CPS on them. However, under Texas law, everyone has a duty to make a report when child abuse is suspected this means it could be anyone.

However, the law places a special duty on certain individuals such as:
  1. Doctors
  2. Lawyers and
  3. Therapist

All allegations of abuse or neglect are reported to a central intake office in Austin (for Texas cases).

Allegations can be reported by:
  1. calling 1-800-252-5400 or making a report
  2. online at https://www.txabusehotline.org

CPS Investigations

Each intake call is assigned a priority level and referred to an investigative worker in the county where the child lives.

A CPS investigation can lead to one of several outcomes:

  1. reason to believe;
  2. unable to determine;
  3. unable to determine with risk indicated;
  4. ruled out;
  5. ruled out with risk indicated; or
  6. unable to complete;

Can CPS take my child?

Yes, CPS can take your child.

If CPS investigates a report and believes the child to be in danger, it can remove the child from the unsafe environment.

An unsafe environment can include:

  1. use of illegal drugs by members of the child’s household,
  2. failure to provide enough food or
  3. sufficient medical care
  4. failure to keep firearms locked up
  5. physical violence to the child or another household member, and
  6. sexual contact with a child

There are generally three ways a child may be removed from you:

  1. Immediately if CPS determines a child is at risk of immediate harm or danger or
  2. by filing a lawsuit and requesting a Court Order
  3. Getting you to agree to voluntarily place the child with a friend or relative

What happens after CPS removal? – The Full Adversary Hearing

Under the Texas Family Code Section 262.201 a court hearing is required to be held within 14 days after the children are removed.

CPS has the burden at the full adversary hearing of showing the following:

  1. there was a danger to the physical health or safety of the child which was caused by an act or failure to act of the person entitled to possession and for the child to remain in the home is contrary to the welfare of the child;
  2. the urgent need for protection required the immediate removal of the child and reasonable efforts, consistent with the circumstances and providing for the safety of the child, were made to eliminate or prevent the child’s removal; and
  3. reasonable efforts have been made to enable the child to return home, but there is a substantial risk of a continuing danger if the child is returned home.

At this hearing, the judge will make decisions on the following:

  1. The child should be returned to the home;
  2. Stay with a friend or family member, or
  3. Remain in CPS custody (foster care)
  4. Whether to order parents to attend parenting classes
  5. Whether to order parents to complete an anger management course,
  6. Whether to order parents to go through a drug or alcohol rehabilitation program
  7. Whether to order parents to other requirements before the child will be returned

Prior to the hearing, CPS will:

  1. notify the child’s parents in writing and
  2. will provide any papers filed with the court that supports the removal.
  3. The papers will include a statement by the investigator with the reasons for the removal.

Permanency Conference or Family Group Conference

Generally, after the full adversary hearing and before the status hearing, CPS will hold a permanency conference or a family group conference.

The purpose of these meetings is to discuss:

  1. the long-term goals for the child
  2. the needs of the child, and
  3. the services the parent need to complete

The goals can include:

  1. family reunification
  2. relative or unrelated adoption
  3. relative or unrelated conservatorship
  4. TDFPS conservatorship with or without termination, or
  5. independent living

The needs of the child can include:

  1. a medical exam
  2. forensic interview
  3. psychological, therapy
  4. educational assessment etc.

What is a CPS service plan?

A service plan is a written plan setting forth recommendations
and steps that must be taken before the child will be allowed to return home.

No more than 45 days after the full adversary hearing CPS must file a family service plan which specifically lays out the services CPS is requesting the parent to complete in order to achieve the permanency goal.

For example, if the child was removed for physical abuse and there are no positive drug tests or any allegations of drug use;
it may not be necessary for a parent to do a drug and alcohol evaluation and random drug testing to alleviate the reason for the child’s removal.

A typical family service plan will include the following:

  1. Parenting Classes
  2. Stable and hazard free housing for 6 months;
  3. Stable income for 6 months;
  4. Psychosocial or psychological;
  5. Individual counseling;
  6. Random drug testing;
  7. Drug and alcohol assessment;
  8. Attend all visits, court hearings, and meetings;
  9. Maintain weekly or monthly contact with the caseworker; and
  10. Notify the caseworker within 24 hours of moving or a change in phone numbers

Drug Testing

Drug and alcohol testing has become commonplace in CPS cases. New types of testing have been developed to help determine what the person is using illegally since most drug users are not always truthful.

If your children have not already been removed the drug test that is performed is typically a swab or urine test.

If you test positive the CPS caseworker will ask you to voluntarily sign a safety plan that places your children with another friend or relative. If you refuse, they will likely, but not always file a suit and state the basis to remove the child is neglectful supervision.

Neglectful Supervision

The elements of neglectful supervision are:

  1. Placing the child in or failing to remove a child from a situation that a reasonable person would realize:
  2. requires judgment or actions beyond the child’s level of maturity, physical condition, or mental abilities; and
  3. that results in bodily injury or a substantial risk of immediate harm to the child; placing a child in or
  4. failing to remove the child from a situation in which the child would be exposed to a substantial risk of sexual conduct harmful to the child; or
  5. placing a child in or failing to remove the child from a situation in which the child would be exposed to sexual abuse committed against another child.

Texas CPS Drug Policy

The following is a policy regarding drug testing from the CPShandbook:

Refusal to Test

“When testing is appropriate under 1920 Substance Abuse Testing, but the client refuses to take a drug test, the caseworker must document the refusal to be tested.

If a parent refuses to take a drug test or refuses to allow a child who is an alleged perpetrator to be tested, the caseworker consults with the supervisor in a staffing meeting. The supervisor may recommend legal intervention if the evidence raises concern for the child’s safety.

For cases under court jurisdiction, the caseworker must notify the judge and attorneys about the client’s refusal to test.”

Positive Result

“The caseworker must assess a positive drug test result in relationship to the child’s safety and risk.
The result must be discussed with the parent in a timely manner.

If a parent with a positive drug result is not engaged in substance abuse treatment and is actively parenting a child, the caseworker refers the parent to:

  1. a provider of outreach, screening, assessment, and referral (OSAR) services or
  2. a provider of substance abuse treatment.

The threshold that makes a referral appropriate is based on the definition of a child not being safe.

That is, a child is not safe when:
  1. threats or dangers exist in the family that are related to substance use;
  2. the child is vulnerable to such threats; and
  3. the parent who is using substances does not have sufficient protective capacities to manage or control threats.”

Thus, if you test positive, and refuse to sign the safety plan, there is a high chance a lawsuit to remove your children will follow.

What are your rights?

  1. You have the right to talk to your CPS caseworker. Communications with the CPS caseworker are not confidential and can come out in court.
  2. If CPS has filed a lawsuit against you for conservatorship of your child and/or termination of your parental rights, you have the right to a court appointed attorney if you cannot afford one.
  3. You have the right to visit with their child unless the Court has ordered no visitation.
  4. You have the right to be informed of their child’s current medical condition and any change of placement; but not the location of the placement.
  5. You have the right to deny the allegations made by CPS
  6. You have the right to be notified of all hearings and permanency conferences or family group conferences.
  7. You have the right to an interpreter if you do not understand English.
  8. You also have the right to a jury trial.

Once the service plan expires, you have the right to bring your child home unless:

  1. the service plan is renewed, or
  2. there is a court order (signed by a judge) saying that you can’t.

What You Should Know if CPS Targets You?

  1. Take the accusation seriously. It doesn’t matter if you think the allegation is unreasonable or stupid. CPS is serious and will presume that you are guilty as accused. They may not say that they are there to take your children, but they very well may.
  2. Do not talk. Do not try to explain it is important that you not talk to anyone but your attorney.
  3. You must find an attorney who has experience in fighting CPS, as soon as you realize your family is being investigated.
  4. Be polite
  5. Never let any government agency in your home unless he or she has a warrant or order issued by a court.
  6. If the accusation is one of physical abuse, have your doctor immediately give your child a thorough physical exam. Ask your doctor to write a letter stating that no bruises, marks, or health concerns were found on the child that would create suspicion of child abuse or neglect.

How long can my CPS case stay open?

Without the agreement, the longest a case will stay open is about 18 months from the time of removalRemember: If you need help, you’re not alone.
(more…)

Source : Bryan Fagan, attorney at law

to view original content click here.

You may have come under the radar of CPS after someone has placed an anonymous call to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

If the caller stated that you were using illegal drugs or that you were arrested for a drug-related offense then there is a good chance a caseworker will show up at your door asking that you take a drug test.

What is CPS?

CPS or the Child Protective Services is part of the Texas state agency, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

CPS is required by law to investigate reports of child abuse or neglect.

CPS has specific time requirements, deadlines, and hearing protocols set forth in Federal Law, the Texas Family Code, and TDFPS handbook.

This means if someone makes a report such as the one described in the above scenario and if there are children involved then a CPS caseworker will be tasked with investigating the report.

Who Called CPS?

Many times, the people who meet with me know who called CPS on them. However, under Texas law, everyone has a duty to make a report when child abuse is suspected this means it could be anyone.

However, the law places a special duty on certain individuals such as:
  1. Doctors
  2. Lawyers and
  3. Therapist

All allegations of abuse or neglect are reported to a central intake office in Austin (for Texas cases).

Allegations can be reported by:
  1. calling 1-800-252-5400 or making a report
  2. online at https://www.txabusehotline.org

CPS Investigations

Each intake call is assigned a priority level and referred to an investigative worker in the county where the child lives.

A CPS investigation can lead to one of several outcomes:

  1. reason to believe;
  2. unable to determine;
  3. unable to determine with risk indicated;
  4. ruled out;
  5. ruled out with risk indicated; or
  6. unable to complete;

Can CPS take my child?

Yes, CPS can take your child.

If CPS investigates a report and believes the child to be in danger, it can remove the child from the unsafe environment.

An unsafe environment can include:

  1. use of illegal drugs by members of the child’s household,
  2. failure to provide enough food or
  3. sufficient medical care
  4. failure to keep firearms locked up
  5. physical violence to the child or another household member, and
  6. sexual contact with a child

There are generally three ways a child may be removed from you:

  1. Immediately if CPS determines a child is at risk of immediate harm or danger or
  2. by filing a lawsuit and requesting a Court Order
  3. Getting you to agree to voluntarily place the child with a friend or relative

What happens after CPS removal? – The Full Adversary Hearing

Under the Texas Family Code Section 262.201 a court hearing is required to be held within 14 days after the children are removed.

CPS has the burden at the full adversary hearing of showing the following:

  1. there was a danger to the physical health or safety of the child which was caused by an act or failure to act of the person entitled to possession and for the child to remain in the home is contrary to the welfare of the child;
  2. the urgent need for protection required the immediate removal of the child and reasonable efforts, consistent with the circumstances and providing for the safety of the child, were made to eliminate or prevent the child’s removal; and
  3. reasonable efforts have been made to enable the child to return home, but there is a substantial risk of a continuing danger if the child is returned home.

At this hearing, the judge will make decisions on the following:

  1. The child should be returned to the home;
  2. Stay with a friend or family member, or
  3. Remain in CPS custody (foster care)
  4. Whether to order parents to attend parenting classes
  5. Whether to order parents to complete an anger management course,
  6. Whether to order parents to go through a drug or alcohol rehabilitation program
  7. Whether to order parents to other requirements before the child will be returned

Prior to the hearing, CPS will:

  1. notify the child’s parents in writing and
  2. will provide any papers filed with the court that supports the removal.
  3. The papers will include a statement by the investigator with the reasons for the removal.

Permanency Conference or Family Group Conference

Generally, after the full adversary hearing and before the status hearing, CPS will hold a permanency conference or a family group conference.

The purpose of these meetings is to discuss:

  1. the long-term goals for the child
  2. the needs of the child, and
  3. the services the parent need to complete

The goals can include:

  1. family reunification
  2. relative or unrelated adoption
  3. relative or unrelated conservatorship
  4. TDFPS conservatorship with or without termination, or
  5. independent living

The needs of the child can include:

  1. a medical exam
  2. forensic interview
  3. psychological, therapy
  4. educational assessment etc.

What is a CPS service plan?

A service plan is a written plan setting forth recommendations
and steps that must be taken before the child will be allowed to return home.

No more than 45 days after the full adversary hearing CPS must file a family service plan which specifically lays out the services CPS is requesting the parent to complete in order to achieve the permanency goal.

For example, if the child was removed for physical abuse and there are no positive drug tests or any allegations of drug use;
it may not be necessary for a parent to do a drug and alcohol evaluation and random drug testing to alleviate the reason for the child’s removal.

A typical family service plan will include the following:

  1. Parenting Classes
  2. Stable and hazard free housing for 6 months;
  3. Stable income for 6 months;
  4. Psychosocial or psychological;
  5. Individual counseling;
  6. Random drug testing;
  7. Drug and alcohol assessment;
  8. Attend all visits, court hearings, and meetings;
  9. Maintain weekly or monthly contact with the caseworker; and
  10. Notify the caseworker within 24 hours of moving or a change in phone numbers

Drug Testing

Drug and alcohol testing has become commonplace in CPS cases. New types of testing have been developed to help determine what the person is using illegally since most drug users are not always truthful.

If your children have not already been removed the drug test that is performed is typically a swab or urine test.

If you test positive the CPS caseworker will ask you to voluntarily sign a safety plan that places your children with another friend or relative. If you refuse, they will likely, but not always file a suit and state the basis to remove the child is neglectful supervision.

Neglectful Supervision

The elements of neglectful supervision are:

  1. Placing the child in or failing to remove a child from a situation that a reasonable person would realize:
  2. requires judgment or actions beyond the child’s level of maturity, physical condition, or mental abilities; and
  3. that results in bodily injury or a substantial risk of immediate harm to the child; placing a child in or
  4. failing to remove the child from a situation in which the child would be exposed to a substantial risk of sexual conduct harmful to the child; or
  5. placing a child in or failing to remove the child from a situation in which the child would be exposed to sexual abuse committed against another child.

Texas CPS Drug Policy

The following is a policy regarding drug testing from the CPShandbook:

Refusal to Test

“When testing is appropriate under 1920 Substance Abuse Testing, but the client refuses to take a drug test, the caseworker must document the refusal to be tested.

If a parent refuses to take a drug test or refuses to allow a child who is an alleged perpetrator to be tested, the caseworker consults with the supervisor in a staffing meeting. The supervisor may recommend legal intervention if the evidence raises concern for the child’s safety.

For cases under court jurisdiction, the caseworker must notify the judge and attorneys about the client’s refusal to test.”

Positive Result

“The caseworker must assess a positive drug test result in relationship to the child’s safety and risk.
The result must be discussed with the parent in a timely manner.

If a parent with a positive drug result is not engaged in substance abuse treatment and is actively parenting a child, the caseworker refers the parent to:

  1. a provider of outreach, screening, assessment, and referral (OSAR) services or
  2. a provider of substance abuse treatment.

The threshold that makes a referral appropriate is based on the definition of a child not being safe.

That is, a child is not safe when:
  1. threats or dangers exist in the family that are related to substance use;
  2. the child is vulnerable to such threats; and
  3. the parent who is using substances does not have sufficient protective capacities to manage or control threats.”

Thus, if you test positive, and refuse to sign the safety plan, there is a high chance a lawsuit to remove your children will follow.

What are your rights?

  1. You have the right to talk to your CPS caseworker. Communications with the CPS caseworker are not confidential and can come out in court.
  2. If CPS has filed a lawsuit against you for conservatorship of your child and/or termination of your parental rights, you have the right to a court appointed attorney if you cannot afford one.
  3. You have the right to visit with their child unless the Court has ordered no visitation.
  4. You have the right to be informed of their child’s current medical condition and any change of placement; but not the location of the placement.
  5. You have the right to deny the allegations made by CPS
  6. You have the right to be notified of all hearings and permanency conferences or family group conferences.
  7. You have the right to an interpreter if you do not understand English.
  8. You also have the right to a jury trial.

Once the service plan expires, you have the right to bring your child home unless:

  1. the service plan is renewed, or
  2. there is a court order (signed by a judge) saying that you can’t.

What You Should Know if CPS Targets You?

  1. Take the accusation seriously. It doesn’t matter if you think the allegation is unreasonable or stupid. CPS is serious and will presume that you are guilty as accused. They may not say that they are there to take your children, but they very well may.
  2. Do not talk. Do not try to explain it is important that you not talk to anyone but your attorney.
  3. You must find an attorney who has experience in fighting CPS, as soon as you realize your family is being investigated.
  4. Be polite
  5. Never let any government agency in your home unless he or she has a warrant or order issued by a court.
  6. If the accusation is one of physical abuse, have your doctor immediately give your child a thorough physical exam. Ask your doctor to write a letter stating that no bruises, marks, or health concerns were found on the child that would create suspicion of child abuse or neglect.

How long can my CPS case stay open?

Without the agreement, the longest a case will stay open is about 18 months from the time of removalRemember: If you need help, you’re not alone.
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