My name is Brian L. Jackson. I am a Tulsa father’s rights attorney. Today, I’d like to talk to you about Child Protective Services, DHS investigations, and you. Basically, the effect of these can be very serious and can directly impact your rights as a father. Any time DHS becomes involved in your life, you need to be Johnny on the spot in dealing with it.
Some consequences that can arise if a DHS investigation becomes a deprived case, it could be very expensive to deal with. They do require you to be represented, and these cases can go on for quite a while. You can find your children taken out of your home, sometimes very abruptly. They can be placed in a foster home, and you may be very seriously restricted as to how and when you can interact with them or if you can interact with them, depending on the nature of the allegations that led to your deprive case. You will be put on a plan to correct the conditions that led to the deprived case and expected to complete it. They’re detailed plans, and they have quite a few requirements, and anything that costs money is going to be at your expense.
In an extreme case, if you are not compliant with reunification your plan, then the state can move to have your rights terminated; and if the court finds that you have not corrected the conditions, termination can result, and your child may be placed for adoption. So these cases have serious implications.
Hopefully, you’ll never find yourself in this situation; but if you do, it’s really important to get a lawyer involved right away. The process that is followed in these cases is, if a report is made to DHS about possible child abuse, child neglect, or exposure to domestic violence, or any other situation that they believe is concerning for the welfare of a child, they will initiate an investigation. If they determine the circumstances warrant it, then they will file a report to the district attorney’s office. The district attorney then can initiate a type of proceeding called a deprive proceeding.
In the deprive proceeding, they will present evidence to the court that will show that they … an attempt to show that the child is deprived, which if the child is adjudicated deprived, then that is when you would be put on a … Well, the child can be taken out of your home, and your contact with the child could be restricted, as we talked about. You’ll be put on a reunification plan, which if you fail to complete that, may end with your rights being terminated. So it’s very important if you find yourself the subject of one of these, that you immediately retain counsel.
Some of the circumstances that can make you the subject of an investigation by DHS can include any kind of physical abuse. That’s defined as if you leave an injury, anything that leaves an injury, anything that’s unreasonable. It can also include neglect. Neglect is broader than people think, like not taking care of the child’s medical needs could be considered neglect. Not taking care of the child’s dental or visual needs can be considered neglect. Making sure your child goes to school every day. Parents can get jammed up in deprive court because the child is chronically truant. Also gets you into criminal court on that issue, but that’s a topic for another day. Any of those kinds of circumstances that evidence like abuse or neglect can end up with a DHS investigation. Other circumstances include if there’s domestic violence in your home. Then there could be a DHS investigation.
Something else to be aware of: just because you were the one doing the neglect, you weren’t the one doing the abuse or the domestic violence or whatever, doesn’t mean that you couldn’t still get caught up in one of these cases. For instance, if you have that creepy uncle who doesn’t respect boundaries and your child tells you a story about something that happened with him and you don’t report it, you could be the subject of investigation as well on the basis of failure to protect. So it’s important to take these situations seriously. It’s important that if DHS should begin investigating you, you want to get a lawyer involved early on.
That’s where you want to give me a call because I would be happy to help you out in that situation. I work on these cases frequently, and the earlier I get involved, the better position I’m in to help you out and avoid a negative consequence like having your child taken away or having your rights terminated. So if you ever find yourself in this situation, give me a call. Again, my name is Brian L. Jackson, and we’ve been talking about DHS, CPS investigations. Thank you, and have a good day.