What is family-based services

When CPS investigates an allegation they will close the investigation by either “ruling out” the risk, “finding” risk, or “unable to determine” the risk.  If the latter is found, CPS will often (most always) ask the family to “voluntarily” agree to family-based services (FBS).  In this situation, there is no court interaction or intervention.  There is no petition or case filed.  The children are usually left in the home; however, sometimes the children are “voluntarily” placed with a family member or family friend.  The parents are asked to do certain services:  parenting classes, anger managment classes, drug / alcohol evaluations, psychological evaluations, and therapy, etc.  If the parent successfully completes these services (which is rarely ever done in CPS’s opinion) then the case will be closed.  If not, CPS will either continue FBS or file a petition with the court asking that your children be removed.  FBS can last indefinitely (even as long as 3-6 years).  It really is a vicious cycle to get caught up in.  And you certainly don’t want to attempt to c0mplete FBS without the help of an experienced attorney.

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38 Responses to What is family-based services

  1. Shannon Jackson says:

    I wanted to know if a Case was started on May 18th 2010 and we went to the CPS office for The investigations findings, and the child was taken from the fathers home and he was told that FBS was taking his case on and he was to do All the needed classes to get the child back home, and Now the middle of Oct. and NOT A PERSON has contacted the (the father) parent who had custody of the child to even say we have your case now. When does it all stop and the child get to come back home with the parent who has custody of them in Texas?

  2. Arron says:

    What happens if you refuse to sign the documents that CPS requests that you sign – like referring the case to another agency for further assessment? I want this to end. Will my refusal to cooperate end the process any quicker, or will I be implicated further? Many thanks for whatever information you can provide.

    • jketterman says:

      You do not have to agree with CPS. They are not professionals. You are still the parent and you can still make the decisions for your children and your family. You do not have to sign anything. Be assertive.

  3. Tori Shinn says:

    My case has been closed and classified as CIR (Closed, Ruled out, Risk indicated). They asked me if I would use FBSS. Do I have to do what they tell me to do to get the kids back home. Do I have to use FBSS. If I refuse will they get a court order?

    We are already in counseling. They said I voluntarily sent the kids to live with their father…no court order in effect. But he has signed a “Safety Plan” stating that the kids will only have supervised visitation (he stated b/c he thought he HAD to). Unfortunately, eventually they told me I had to sign it to, in order to close the case and move it to FBSS which gets the kids back home.

    FBSS states that the plan is still in effect and kids cannot come home. If the case is ruled-out not abuse occurred then why can’t they come home?

    • jketterman says:

      You do not have to participate in family based safety services (FBSS). You have a right to say no. CPS can, however, go to court and have you court-ordered to do the services or they can simply file a suit against you. You should hire an attorney to shut them down.
      CPS always says that parents “voluntarily” placed the children outside of the home — when in fact they were forced to do so. They also force parents to sign the safety plan. The safety plan is not worth the paper it’s written on. Unfortunately if you sign it you are probably bound by it if it says that failure to comply will force CPS to take legal action.
      CPS will continue to string you along. Please get an attorney to help you shut the case down and get CPS out of your life.

  4. Mona Hampton says:

    My case is a little different. The removal of the kids from the dump they lived in was justified. I’m glad they eventually got around to it. I am a family member of two kids CPS has place in my home to which I volunteered. However, the mom is special needs that has never been addressed because her parents always kept her close, and the reason I took her in as well. Her mom, my sister died in 2007 and her father, who is an old man has not been able to care for them, he is sick and in a nursing home now. The mom has allowed men (boyfriends) in the home and now the oldest kid, 15, is pregnant and CPS had suspicions that the little one, 10 who is special needs as well, has been molested. After 3 weeks in my home I was able to confirm their suspicions. They referred the mom to FBS and we still have not heard from them. I sometimes get a little frustrated with the mom because she makes poor decisions regarding the kids and they are so undicipline with horrible eating habits. Why does it take so long and do I need to hire a lawyer? The extra kids has put a crunch in my finances. I need these people to move faster. Do they not have enough staff? Can you help with some advise?

    • jketterman says:

      I wish that they moved faster also. You can call supervisors — it may help. Ultimately, you may have to hire an attorney to speed up the process. You’re welcome to call me and I can give you some guidance….

  5. Deborah says:

    My granddaughter and her two twin 11 month old brothers where taken from their mother and placed in FSB care with the twin’s aunt. Can I get my granddaughter from them? The twins are from another man and the mother is with neither of the fathers and is not working, is living with some other people with 3 kids and has no place for them if and when she gets them back. Not sure how FSB works? Will she get them back? Can she just go pick them up? She did sign papers to take parenting classes, which I think she is taking? But she is using this as a vacation and goes out all the time. I am helping support my granddaughter by buying her clothes and paying her childcare!

    • jketterman says:

      Yes, you can file a suit to get custody of your granddaughter. It’s possible that mom can get her kids back if she successfullyy completes the services that CPS has requested her to do. I would have to see the paperwork to determine if mom can pick the kids up. If they are placed with the aunt per a court order then no, she cannot just go pick them up. But if there is no court order then she can.

  6. francisca rodriguez says:

    I have a case with Cps four weeks ago Cps went to see My kids at school and they dais My kids are beeing molested by My husband out its not true they took him and My self out of our house they have closed the case un Abel to determine and now they want us to go to family based services i dont know What we should do or expect im scared i dont want to loose My kids please give me an advice on What i should do thank you

    • jketterman says:

      I do not recommend Family Based Services. It’s a program that allows CPS to force you and your husband to submit to services (hired by CPS). There are no safety nets. There is no court, no AAL for the children and CPS does not have to answer to anyone. In my opinion, it’s a trap that many families fall into. With that said, I have on some very rare occassions, agreed for my client to participate in FBSS. But as a general rule, I have my clients decline. If CPS feels that you and/or your husband are a danger to your children they should file a suit; otherwise they should leave you alone.

  7. francisca rodriguez says:

    Hi thank-you for your abvise i have not been abel to see My children since they took us out of hour home they are telling us we do need to go to fbss but they have not told us where to go they have come to the house where my husband and I are staying and to the house where my kids are staying they told us we yall had to go take the fbss clases and that was 3 weeks año she now called me to come out to the house my husband and I are staying at on thursday I dont know What to expect should i look for an attorney can you recomend one for me this us a nightmare i miss my children alot and i dont know What to do to have this people leave us alone thank-you for any advice you can give me to help me out in this problem

  8. Morgan says:

    I have a question regarding FBSS. My husband and I had an altercation in January, we lived in an apartment, neighbors called the cops because there was a loud verbal argument going on. I missed a payment on a traffic ticket, and had a warrant for my arrest. I was taken to jail that day for the warrant. Police notified CPS, they sent over an investigator, we were told if we didn’t do a voluntary parent child safety placement, then our child would be removed. We complied of course, for fear of removal. We hired an attorney, we were told no further communication with cps and that we didn’t have up follow their safety plan, but I didn’t want to take any risks, so I always had one of the supervisors with me. On February 7th, they showed up, and we were moving stuff to a new house, my grandpa (supervisor) pulled from the back alley of the house, to the front after unloading. Cps showed up at the same time and said I was unsupervised and removed my son without a court order on the basis of failure to follow through with PCSP. At the adversary hearing, the associate judge kept him in the care of the department. We filed for a Denovo hearing with the district judge and were scheduled for a hearing on March 28th. The lawyer for cps wanted to make an agreement, instead of duking it out in court, they wanted my son to be placed with his paternal grandparents, we made a counter offer for myself and my husband to separate and he be the temporary sole conservator. The stipulations are, he had to have his dad move in and be his live in supervisor and I can go be with our son when my husband goes to work. My husband and I are not allowed to be around each other in the presence of our child. They closed our cps case and got us set up with FBSS. We’ve done all of the services they wanted. We have been doing them since the removal feb 7th. Did a psych evaluation, drug and alcohol dependency assessment, random ua’s, parenting classes, anger management, marriage counseling. The whole 9 yards, and they still won’t let us live together as a family. What exactly is FBSS, isn’t that something they do prior to removal to prevent from removing the child? Isn’t this backwards? How long do you think it will take for them to deem us fit and ready to live together again? We have a follow up hearing in 3 months.. Are we going to have to wait that long?

    • jketterman says:

      FBSS is a trap, in my opinion. I rarely agree to participate in FBSS. The reality is that it can take months or even years. CPS is not under any statutory time limits. You need to file a motion with the court asking CPS to explain to the court why the children are not being returned.

  9. Amanda K says:

    CPS placed my grandbaby with me in January. The parents were supposed to take drug and parenting classes and remain drug free. They never complied with any part of the plan and told CPS they were moving to colorodo because pot is legal there. they signed some gaurdiaship form they got online and someone at the CPS office notarized it making me guardian. I’m baffled by all of this. I believe they are closing the case and the parents did leave the state. The baby has no insurance and I can’t ad her to mine, they won’t accept the notarized guardianship papers, I couldn’t even get a copy of her birth certificate. I really don’t know what to do, I can’t really afford a lawyer and I’m considered to be poor. Any suggestions?

    • jketterman says:

      Something doesn’t sound right. You should have a final court order giving you legal custody. There is a new group in Texas called GAP (grandparents as parents). Contact them and they may be able to help.

  10. april says:

    C.p.s was called to my Daycare because my son had bruises on his but from a wooping. my husband was the one who did it. The cps said he had to leVe our house and could not return home until investigation was over. Its cominthe police said they were not pressing charges. The lady never even got a stastement tatement from my husband until two weeks after the inital investigation startes. When he spoke to the woman she said he would have to do court order parenting classes. A week went by and no word from anybody. Today i was told by her supervisor that my case was being sent to f.b ss. After reading all of this im not sure if we should agree to this.sure what to do.

  11. Dawn A says:

    My children’s father physically assulted me. The report was referred to cps by the police. He is no longer in the home. The casworker said that he could not have any contact with the children until they say its okay or the children will be voluntary removed. The caseworker is referring the case to fbss. I did sign a safety plan that lasts in 12/29/2013, howeverat the time, i did not know that I could refuse to sign it. I will refuse to sign another one, because I feel as if I am being a protective parent by removing him from the home, although I do not have a fear of him harming our children. I have been referred for parenting classes. There is a waiting list for classes and I do not want to live under CPS’ rule of thumb until the classes are completed. I feel as if I am having the same stipulations placed on me as if I was accused of abusing my children. Which has not ever happened. I do not know what to do.

    • jketterman says:

      I would revoke your signature on the family safety plan. If your husband has left the home then the danger is gone. Even if CPS takes you to court they couldn’t win custody; they would have to prove that your children are in danger. The risk is no longer there.

      Let me know if you have any further questions. Good Luck

      • Dawn A says:

        Thank you for the information. I will refuse to sign another safety plan if I am asked to after the current one expires at the end of December. I was also referred to parenting classes, unknownly until some contacted me from a battered women’s shelter. However, I would like to attend the
        domestic violence classes, but not the parenting class because they are unnecessary. My children are well taken care of. The “required” classes where not included on the safety plan therefore I think that me attending classes should be voluntary not required by cps. I am a protective paarent and my husband left on his own, so that should have been enough.

  12. michael says:

    Cps went to my childs school on friday 11/22/13. My oldest daughter recorded the whole interaction. My daughter told the investigator she wanted to call me first. Which obviously upset the investigator. When my daughter called me I called my wife to ask her to go to the school. The investigator was very rude and constantly threating her with removal any time she contested or questioned anything the investigator requested. My wife wanted someone in the room during the interviews which mad the investigator angry. My daughters principle did set in both interviews with my 14 and 7 year old. The investigator would not tell her the allegation or any info about what she was investigating. Then after several threats from the investigator my wife offered her to come see our house since we have done nothing and have nothing to hide. Then the investigator told my wife that when I got home from work that we all had to go to her office. So we went the investigator asked me a few questions and then brought my wife in the room. She told us that we qualified for services. She then put a saftey plan in front of us and “recommended with an additude that we agree”. The saftey plan said that we would not have any verbal or physical altercations and required random drug tests and cps monitoring. Date on the plan said 11/22/13 until further notice. We did sign it even thought we disagree strongly. Have heard nothing as of yet. We did retain legal representation. We only spoke to the paralegal so far . What should my attorney be doing to get this over as fast as possible. Since then we have found out that my teacher sister in law made the report and we have her on audio recorded saying if my wife would have sat down and talked with her she would not have called in to cps. She said she thought that my 7 year old needed someone to talk to because she was sad at my mother in laws house and missed her parents. My wife got mad and cussed her sister out at Starbucks we her sister threatened to call cps. Well this obviously embarrassed her so she called saying because that the fact that my wife got mad must mean something is going on. We have all this on tape. Sister in law was not even there when my daughter got sad and missed us. We will be recording everything from now on. Can we do anything about the false report. What do we need to press a case against the sister in law for false reporting. What can we do to revoke the safety plan. I am trying to get as much info as possible so that when we meet with the attorney I will know that the attorney is doing what is best for us. Also since we signed a contract with the law firm with out meeting with the attorney if we don’t feel that she is the right attorney for this can I cancel the contract and get my money back and go someware else. Thank you for your time.

    • jketterman says:

      To start with, yes, you can file charges or a civil suit against your sister in law for filing a false report.

      As far as the safety plan, yes, you can send a letter withdrawing your consent to the plan. Keep in mind, tho, that in doing so — without an attorney — may subject your family to a legal case filed by CPS. Opting out of FBSS is available, but it needs to be done with caution.

      As for your attorney, canceling the contract really depends on how the contract reads. You certainly have the right to fire him/her and retain new counsel. if your attorney has not done the work to earn the money paid, it should be returned to you. The State Bar is really cracking down on attorneys who refuse to return unearned money.

      Good luck.

  13. Casey J. Martin says:

    Hello, the late part of January 2014 I made a mistake and took my 4 month old in the shower with me because we both needed bathed and my wife and i have done it before together in the past and never had a problem. However, this time wasn’t as successful. After washing and rinsing my son’s back, I leaned him back to change his position and he kicked off my mid section and I lost my strong hold on his head yet still had a grip on his ankle with my left hand. My son hit his head on the marble shelf in the shower. I immediately got out of the shower and got him dried and clothed. He was a bit fussy naturally because he hit his head. He had a little knot on his head but didn’t show any signs of distress or abnormal behavior. He breast fed just fine with my wife and showed the same personality and physical strengths that he had before. I told my wife about the incident and we both examined him for anything out of the ordinary. He was acting fine and slept fine as usual and woke up for his midnight feeding and went back to sleep. My wife and I checked his head in the morning and his knot had went away but we noticed some blood on his crib sheets. Searching for the source we found that it was spotting from his ear on the same side he hit his head. Knowing that this wasn’t normal we made an appointment that morning with our pediatrician. I insured my wife that I would bring him to the appointment and that she shouldn’t miss work. She asked that I keep her informed and ventured off to work. The pediatrician said that my sons eardrum could have potentially been ruptured from the head trauma and encouraged me to have a CT scan performed at the local medical center in cypress. She wrote me an order for the scan and I went there immediately. After the scan they advised me to go home and told me that his pediatrician would report the findings back to us. Less than an hour later she called and informed me that my son had a hairline fracture and they were concerned that he could have some fluid accumulation in his skull. She advised us to take our son to Texas Children’s Hospital. My wife left her work and went to the medical facility to get a copy of the CT scan per our pediatrician and I packed us a bag in the event we had to stay over night. When my wife arrived we got in the car and went to TCH as instructed. We were questioned by case workers and doctors about the accident and we gave all the information we could on the matter. More and more people came in our room asking somewhat offensive questions and we started realizing what they were Incinuating. Then they said that they needed to do more tests and x-rays to confirm their suspicions of baby shakin syndrome. My wife and I were appalled but of course complied as we were concerned with our child’s health and well being. All the test and x-rays came up negative to confirm their suspicions. My wife and I spent a week in that hospital with repeated visits from cps at odd hours of the night interrogating us with questions over and over and threatening to press criminal charges against me and my wife if we didn’t comply to their orders. My wife was becoming upset frequently and cried many times in distress of the accusations against us. Finally on February 8th 2014 they decided to discharge us from the hospital. But would only release my son to my brother until further investigation. We have had to vist our son at my brother’s house for nearly a month now and it has become very difficult to maintain a routine with him. We have retained legal council and have been advised not to speak with or provide any information to cps without our attorney present. Finally today February 25th a cps agent called my wife requesting her to show up at there office tomorrow for an assessment so that they can close the case and turn it over to the FBSS so that we can get our son back in the home. This isn’t a favor and we do not intend to agree to FBSS arrangements. It is ludicrous that our home has been disrupted by this allegation by cps but we have been compliant for fear that they will place our infant in foster care. What is the jurisdiction of FBSS? They obviously do not have a case against us so can’t we just revoke our signatures from the temporary placement order and demand that if they have a case then serve us with legal documents that would reflect that of a court judge or what? We have been wrongfully accused of something and wish to get our lives back to order. Any suggestions?

    • jketterman says:

      Yes. Have your attorney force CPS to close the case. Do not to FBSS. Make your attorney work for you. If there is no court order, go get your baby. But. Aka sure your attorney knows what you’re doing. If CPS has a case then they can take it to court.

  14. Kimberly Andrews says:

    My case Has been sent to fbss because my husband smokes pot. He agreed to go to the classes they have offered do we need to be concerned about anything

    • jketterman says:

      Its time for him to quit. It sounds like a simple FBSS case. But make sure you keep a journal for your own protection. Write everything down: every phone call, every message left, every home visit. Good luck.

  15. Ambria says:

    During the birth on my son I tested positive for marijuana but my son was negative and cps was called. There was no hold on my son and I went home after two days. After months CPS hadn’t come by or called after their initial assessment in the hospital. Then after 2 months they show up at my door and start asking questions and ask that myself and my husband take a drug test. I tested negative but my husband was positive but only for a very small amount and he explained why but they still referred us to FBS. We now are subject to random drug screens, even though I tested negative. They also want us to take drug awareness classes, which we cannot afford and parenting classes. We have since both tested negative. What should we do? Do we have to take these classes? They make us feel that it is mandatory but on the safety plan it is simply referred to as a recommendation. There is no neglect or abuse of any kind. I only smoked a very small amount for nausea, but what should we do? Thank you.

    • jketterman says:

      You can refuse the services. If they think they have a strong enough case they will take you to court. I don’t see how they could win an initial hearing though since they waited two months to come out. Where’s the emergency?

  16. Ambria says:

    Can I refuse FBS services? We have already taken 3 drug screens this month alone, and they have not been random as stated. Our caseworker has not told us the results of any of those test even though we know they are negative. She is very rude, judgemental and condescending. I don’t think she believes anything that we say. Also, can we request a new caseworker?
    P.S. I have tested negative for 4 test and my fiance for 3 and the first one was positive for a miniscule amount of MJ. What can we do at this point?

    • jketterman says:

      Yes, you can refuse FBSS. And I would. Normally you can’t request a new caseworker. You can, however, contact her supervisor and make a formal complaint. Try to record her if possible. It’ll help when you contact the supervisor.

  17. Tj says:

    My Fiance and I recently were introduced to CPS because of an overly concerned daycare. My fiance picked up my daughter from daycare, paid them everyone smiled and she went home. Shortly after the police arrived and stated they had a report and had to look into. They started taking pictures and questioning only my 4yr old daughter completely ignoring my 7yr old daughter. When my faince came from the back of the house a CPS worker let himself in or was allowed in by the policeman. They began with there rude attitudes and began to ask an onslaught of questions from every direction. Upon questioning my 4yr old daughter alone and without a representative, which they said was legal they came up to the conclusion an investigation was necessary. They then without notice and with my fiance in a different room loaded my then fully in tears daughters into a patrol car and to the hospital. Now some history about my 4yr old is as follows; her birth mother and I separated 2ys ago and went through an ugly divorce. She has no contact with our children and has hence caused them emotional issues that led my 4yr old to have witnessed yet absurd tantrums where she hurts herself either through self inflicted injuries or accidental injuries from throwing herself down regardless of her location or proximity to walls, dressers, ledges and etc. She a week prior had had one such episode that lasted for about 4hrs. She fell off of our 3 1/2 foot high porch and landed on the walk way stones with the side of her thigh and her face. These were the bruises in question and basis of the investigation regardless of the fact that those injuiries were specifically witnessed by people other than myself and fiance. After being forced into signing a safety plan or threat of foster care we hired my faince an attorney. They placed all the blame on her even though my child had stated first that she fell, then that I hit her than changing and saying my fiance hit her and then once again stating I did it! We participated in a a child safe meeting where in was told my daughters would both be interviewed on camera and alone without anyone present. Although my daughters stated they are not hit and that our punishments at home involve only a simple time out we were accused of coaching them and violating the safety plan cause my daughters they thought I left the home. We have since been told that the safety plan would be revised and new people needed to be added. I stated to them that I did not leave the house that morning, that I simply was on the porch smoking a cigarette and drinking a cup of coffee before my daughters woke up and when I walked back into the house they were up. I was called a liar in not so many ways and told the plan would be thrown away and a new one was needed. Now they have not once spoken to my fiancé and I feel thats due to her having the attorney we hired. I am not being accused of anything but I am being treated as if I was neglectful. My daughters counselor has since stated these behaviors are normal for a child who has experienced what mine has. The second doctor stated to us my daughter is fine, that she isn’t hit and only seems quick to answer because she has told the same thing to a number of people within a short time frame. Both daughters stated clearly they are not hit and that punishments are a trip to the wall for a timeout. However this nonsense continues and has had a heavy strain on our family unit. What do I do now ? I plan to use my fourth and fifth amendment rights at this point because of my frustrations with the Texas CPS in San Antonio. I plan to not speak to them any further and not allow them to speak to my children again either. I am at a loss for actions appropriate to this situation.

    • jketterman says:

      You need an attorney to shut it down. Family based services are a set up, in my opinion. CPS won’t leave you alone until they are forced to do so. A CPS case is a civil case. You have no 4th or 5th amendment rights. And pleading the fifth can be used against you in civil case. So be very careful. I agree that you shouldn’t speak to them anymore. There’s nothing left to say.

  18. me says:

    My husband smokes weed we got pulled over today and he was given a city ticket for drug paraphernalia because they found a few small little pieces of weed on his lap and said they HAD to call cps because our kids were in the car …. I do not smoke at all but am very afraid they will try to take my kids away because he smokes weed he is not going to anymore now because I’ve knocked the severity of the situation in his head but please give me some advice we don’t have money for a lawyer PLEASE help me figure out what to expect.. was the cop just trying to scare me or is this really going to happen I’m not prepared for any of this… he does not smoke in the house and our infant and school age child have seen him smoking before outside but never questioned it or were told what it is we both smoke cigarettes outside of the home to so the older one probably thought it was just a cigarette if anything.. please help I’m freaking out…. thank you….

    • jketterman says:

      Once a referral is called in, CPS has to investigate. You will both be asked to submit to a drug test. You will most likely be asked to do family based safety services which consist of parenting classes, drug tests, etc.

  19. Randall Parker says:

    A very good friend of mine has a 12 yo daughter, whom I have Special POA and guardian event of death or incapacity single parent mother. She is impotent to me.
    The mother had several fraudulent called in by her Mother. The Mother lives in NC and hasent seen the daughter or child in 11.5 years. CPS revealed who filed complaint.
    My friend messed up and allowed CPS in the door and drug tested her. They did not perform the test correctly and showed a false positive. They askd tht the child be placed in safe care,which she was or thought she was. Mother agreed to retest and did. They then came back and want her in rehab over her own taken as prescribed meds. They have been non involved for 6 weeks. Mother has complied. She did sign a saftey plan till 26th. They have no case. Should she bring her child home? We do have an attorney who we feel has not been proactive. i feel she needs to ask for case closed based on fraud reports by her own crazy mother.

    • jketterman says:

      I am very sorry for what CPS has put you through. If you have hired an attorney that is no experience with CPS or family law I suggest finding a new attorney that can be more proactive in fighting CPS. I wish you luck.

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