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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68 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.

      • christina says:

        This isnincorrecr cps is not immune to rights sorry don’t know who gave you your information but yes you have both your 4th and 5th amendment rights.

        • jketterman says:

          CPS is immune when it comes to suits against a govermental agency.

          All persons maintain their 4th and 5th Amendment rights at all times, even when CPS involved. The difference is that asserting these rights in a civil case can be used against you in a civil action.

  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.

  20. Jay says:

    Cps was called when I confided in my doctor about domestic violence that had occurred in the past with my husband. My husband and I already talked about him getting help before CPS became involved and neither me or my husband have EVER laid a hand on my three month old. We take very good care of her and provide her with absolutwly everything she needs. So no child abuse is present or even suspected by CPS.
    They made me sign a safety plan that says I must reside with my mother who will supervise me with my daughter. My husband was not allowed to see her until he also signed the safety plan and no matter how much he called our case worker she would not return his calls even after sending him a text saying she would get back with him. Finally he was able to sign when he went to their office. He is only allowed to see our daughter twice a week for an hour. So two hours a week.

    CPS wants us to go to classes, FBS. Which I understand, and me and my husband are more than willing to go but CPS is moving very slow and even worse the holidays are coming up and we wont be able to spend them together.
    We’ll take the classes, but I want to be sure that we will be able to live with out daughter and not end up in a trap where FBS never ends and our family remains torn.

    Another thing. I’m concerned my mother is not on my sidw and is ready to throw me under the bus for anything. She has already made threats and is a very controlling person. She is going to cancun for thanksgiving and wants yo take my daughter and my case worker said that if it is approved my daughter will either have to go with my mother or be placed in another family. I don’t know what to do. I do Not want my daughter in Mexico, away from her parents on thanksgiving, or with another family.

    My husband and I are looking for an attorney or legal adviser. But there are non in our area that deal with CPS cases.
    Advice would be very much appreciated.

  21. Christina C says:

    I’m trying to get some legal information about a FBSS case. I just finished up with all of my services, complaints have been made that I have been taking the kids home on weekends sometimes by my caregiver which is my sister. Yes I have been doing that. But I haven’t told them why. But this case has been going for 8 months and I corrupated with doing everything they wanted. Everything! At this point if I decide to take my kids home,and ask them to take me to court can I do so? Or will I be penalized for taking them home without courts involved and tell them I quit.

  22. Dean says:

    My friend just went to her second hearing. The first the court ordered a follicle test. They had bare hands and scissors of a desk to cut her hair. I took her to a professional testing place and of course the one from the professional place came back clean, but the CPS didn’t. She had all the evidence and prescriptions to show what they said was in her hair since they cut 3/4″ from her scalp. When she got to court, first off the attorney would not speak up, and just stood there. She ended up having to speak up and the judge shut her down, would not even look at the evidence she had. Then the Judge ruled based upon her opinion and ordered a safety plan. I had told her all along do not sign anything from them, especially since they trespassed onto my property and admitted it on her statement. Is there anything that can be done to try and set these people straight or does she just have to hope for the best?

  23. Dean says:

    Oh and by the way the judge is also listed as an adoption attorney at http://www.adoptionattorneys.org that seems scary to me.

  24. Rachal says:

    My boyfriends ex has recently lost her 5 kids to cps. 1 of the children is my boyfriends child. A cps worker has asked him to come do a background check. My question is I have a criminal history, the case is closed and happens 5 years ago. Since then I have had children, I’m a good mom, and have people that will speak up for me. Will my boyfriend have a problem getting his child because of my history?

    • jketterman says:

      Possibly. But if he retains a good attorney, he can fight it. If he was not part of the original pick up, he should have his child placed with him regardless of your history.

  25. kathy says:

    I had a family member pass away and I made a mistake a took drugs and now cos has took our daughter and had us sign a voluntary placement for her to stay with my parents while I took classes I have been attending the classes for over 2 months I have done everything I have said I would do and now they say I have to finish the classes and from my understanding that could take a year and the classes never really end. I want my daughter back home what can I do?

    • jketterman says:

      Retain and attorney. Have them refuse any further FBSS participation. Then file a Motion for Show Cause and force CPS to show evidence as to why your child should be placed outside of your home.

  26. Suzanne says:

    Good afternoon Ms Ketterman!

    First of all, thank you so much for all of the useful information on this page! It’s refreshing to see someone as dedicated as you are about educating people about their rights!

    My question is this: We have been falsely accused of misconduct and released from the the original allegations as per the Detective handling our case, and there was a secondary concern brought up that has been given to the prosecutor to look at (it was a poor choice of rough housing that got spun as something dangerous).

    My husband and I have started parenting classes on our own and I have an application to a children’s home for the child who made the allegations (she needs help that none of us can really give her at this time). The investigator wants to come out with FBS next week and set up services. What do you think I should do?

    • jketterman says:

      Thank you.

      I personally do not agree with FBSS. I believe that it’s a vehicle CPS uses to create cases where there may not be a case. I would tell them to kick rocks. If they believe that they have a strong case, tell them to take it to court and prove it.

  27. michele says:

    Hello, my problem is that my husband and I were made primary caregiver to his granddaughter, his daughter is very hard to get along with. She makes no contact with the child, she calls and text my husband cursing him out weekly because he will not give her money. We don’t get any type of benefits for her because her mother receives tanf and foodstamps for her. Cps tells us we are responsible for making sure that she provides for her daughter while she’s with us. We’ve been told that we have to make sure that she talks and gets visits with her. We’ve told them that she’s violent and unpredictable so why should we put our selves in danger so she can get what she wants what are our rights as grandparents and caregivers.

    • jketterman says:

      You can intervene into the suit or file your own suit if CPS has not filed a legal case. You need to tell the judge — or the child’s attorney — about mom and her violence. Grandparents in Texas have very few rights, but you do have some. Fight for your rights as grandparents and now as caregivers. You most likely can gain conservatorship of the child and stop mom from visiting.

  28. audrey says:

    My boyfriend and father of child received a city ticket for drug paraphernalia. Police reports states I had no idea that those were in the care, that I was very attentive to my child and that my child looked well taken care of (nice clothes, well fed, clean, etc). Cps worked showed up at my parents home days later, which is where we are staying. I did not let her in but she mentioned she had to put her computer down So I let her use the table in the courtyard but never let her in the home as it is my parents home and not mine. After a multitude of questions, she got something out of a wrapper handed it towards me and then asked if I’d take a drug test and that if I refused, her and police would feel unsafe about leaving me my child and could not leave him with me. I told her I wanted to speak with an attorney first, once speaking with an attorney, I went outside of the courtyard as she had gone out to her car to call her supervisor and told her I invoked my right to an attorney, gave her the attorney’s information and the time I was meeting with this attorney, she got back in her car to call supervisor, came out saying that either way she could not leave child with me unless I had an adult present. Mother in law came, was told she could not supervise because she did not live here. Then both of my parents came. She worked her way into the home, took pictures of my sons crib, mentioned how nice of a home this was, I live in a middle class type of home. She then made it seem like if we didn’t sign the safety plan, she couldn’t leave us with the child. Both my parents and I signed the safety plan, she did not read us the safety plan as it was written (noticed it later that night when I was reading over the plan). Even though i invoked my right to an attorney multiple times, she ignored my request. Now she wants to court order drug tests for both, me and my bf (who is the father to the child). We have invoked our right to an attorney. We still have not had a chance to speak with our attorney as she has had emergencies all week. Her coworker has mpbeen stoping by once a day and has only made positive comments every time. My questions are, if we refuse, is it an automatic hair follicle test? And if we agree is it a simple urine test? Also if we refuse and she court orders the test, are we notified to go to court to fight our side, or are we simply served with a court order to do a drug test within a certain amount of time? And last, can they force me to take a drug test, if I have complied, have no criminal record or previous drug problem?

    • jketterman says:

      I would find another attorney. You can always refuse a drug test. Especially a swab test — they are not scientifically reliable and they are not admissible in court. It doesn’t sound like CPS has a case. I would not take a drug test unless it was court ordered.

  29. Claire garcia says:

    Back in October of 2014 cps was called by my boyfriends mother in attempt to take our 1 month old daughter out of our custody and into hers. Me and the father got into an argument and were seperated at the time when I allowed her to take my daughter for a visit . When I called for her to return my daughter she ignored my calls and turned off her phone . I called the cops in fear she was kidnapping her. The cop returned and said that his family has called cos and that I wouldn’t be able to get my daughter until I contacted cps. I contacted then the following Monday and went to the cps office to meet with the investigator. Right when I walked in I was arrested for a felony warrant I had for possesion of marijuana. The investigator interviewed me while in handcuffs and confronted me about an old picture of me holding the marijuana in my hands. I did not deny it because it was an old picture and I did not use marijuana. I tested negative on the swab test and was taken to jail. I came out a week later and was told that I will have supervised visits with my daughter and she was under the fathers aunts’ safety plan with him living there. While there, I was being abused by my daughters father and the aunts daughter, including the father smoked marijuana. One day I pressed charges for assault on him and called the investigator to tell her he was smoking and assaulted me. She did not take it serously, she did not even believe me. That’s when I knew cps was against me . My daughters father smokes but takes detox pills that work successfully. I don’t know what to do? I don’t even smoke at all. We were put on family based and required to do parentingclasses. We were in the same class, 2 classes away from completing them. My daughters father is obsessed and when we are seperated he constantly messages me and stalks me on social media even after I block him. So anyways, he was messaging me to meet him in that he bathroom because he didn’t want to do something stupid . So I went and asked him to see his phone. After finding a picture of him with a beer in his hands and a pack of “super blunts” in his mouth, I Bluetoothed it to my phone. I deleted evidence showing what I did and gave him back his phone and returned to class. He found out what I did and became agressive. I ran into Class and he followed right behind me. As class was going on he was threatening me and telling me he was going to fuck me up in the parking lot of I didn’t delete the picture. Everyone in class saw what was going on. I was scared and so was everybody else. Well, after class I called my parents to escort me out and got to get away while the teacher calmed him down. As we walked out, he came running fast like he was going by to attack me, so I ran. Right when he ran by my parents my dad got the chance to tackle and stop him. They called the cops and told us to go home while he stayed behind. The next day I call the class and was told I was no longer allowed due to a no-violence tolerance. I called the caseworker also and told her what happenedand sent her the photo and she did not care what I had to say and said why didn’t I make a police report. So I did, but still it didn’t make a difference. The father and I were on talking terms again because I wanted to see my daughter. He told me that he was going to be allowed back to complete his classes. I told my mom and she made sure the classes didn’t allow him back. So after that I decided to not even call the the caseworker because Shes not helping me in any way at all. While visiting one day, he hit me and I called the cops and held my daughter in my house and he also called the cops and caseworker and said I was trying to kidnap her. He ended up leaving with my daughter and I ended up with no contact with my daughter unless its at the cos office . I attempted once to have a visit with her and they never called me back. I’m so sick and tired of being without my daughter and having to deal with the father and cps to see her. I’m tired of him getting away with everything such as smoking and not even staying at the place of the safety plan. He has my daughter from house to house living out of a bag. I also forgot to explain how I mentioned to the caseworker and the investigator he fakes the scenery at his aunts house. I’m tired of looking like the bad one, when my daughter lived with me she had everything, now all her stuff is at the aunts where he doesn’t even stay. I don’t do drugs at all, I’m doing my classes, and I know what I did was wrong but it was the past. What can I do to get my daughter back in my safety plan? I’ll do the classes and everything I just want to be with my daughter. He’s not even doing his classes.

    • jketterman says:

      You need to get an attorney and have him/her file a motion for show cause. This will force CPS to come in to court and explain to the judge why you shouldn’t have your child in your home. FBSS can last indefinitely; getting in to court will speed things up.

  30. Sandy says:

    My children were taken on 12/6/14 into voluntary child safety services. This was converted into FBSS and we have a case manager who never returns phone calls, text messages or the like. She has not been to see my children regularly as was spelled out in the paperwork we were given and she apparently told the voluntary care takers that my children would be with them for 4 or 5 or 6 months if they got to come home at all. I have 2 yr old quadruplets and a 5 yr old daughter. They were fathered by an anonymous donor and my partner and I are their parents. We have an attorney in Austin for the 2nd parent adoption that was to be completed at the first part of this year before this mess happened, and since it is not my partner has no legal right or responsibility in the eyes of the state. The situation with CPS is this: we moved to a new town in June and the home we moved into is on a busy street-though we did not know how busy until we moved in. We were not aware that the glass door did not lock and two of my quads got out of the house and in the front yard near the road and someone called the police who then called CPS. The case was ruled out. We installed a chain lock on the door to prevent them from getting outside, but in Oct we had furniture delivered and the door did not get locked behind the furniture people. All the kids were in my room, as we were getting ready to go to the store. They were all having the normal toddler meltdowns. I went to get clothes from the dryer and my 2 boys followed me out of the room. When they did they were playing with their toys and not having their melt down, so I let them play and went back into my room to dress my two girls, one of whom has cerebral palsy and does not walk. Our older daughter was at school. My partner went to use the restroom and during this time the boys got out the front door and down by the road and someone again called the police. When I went out to get the boys to get them dressed they were outside with the people who stopped and the police. CPS again was called. We then installed chime/alarms on the glass door to the front and tried to be as careful as possible to make sure the door was always locked. On Dec. 6th, 2014 my partner was out of state visiting a friend and I was home with all 5 of our kids. I was getting ready to take my 5 yr old to paint pottery and had stepped out back to ask my stepmom(who had come to stay with us in Nov and was helping keep up with laundry and all) if she knew where my 5 yr old’s Christmas shirt was. While I was outside talking to her in the building we have out back-I stopped and smoked a cigarette. This takes maybe 7 minutes tops. While this happened my 5 year old opened the front door and let 3 of my quads out in the front yard. They proceeded to go by the street and someone again stopped and called the police. The police stated that it took them 20 minutes to find me after looking through our whole house. I do not believe that it could have taken them that long. They burst in on my partner’s mother who had gone to the bathroom and she was startled and confused when they burst in on her and they asked her what she was doing and she was like “using the restroom.” and they asked her where is these kids’mother and she said “I don’t know.” That really meant that I was somewhere around the house but she wasn’t sure where. They used that to say that I allowed an elderly person who was incapable to watch my kids…while I was still on the premisis. They approached the building as I was walking out and proceeded to question me. We had Christmas decorations out to decorate for Christmas and there had apparently been one glass ornament that had been broken and some of the clear glass had gotten on the carpet. They made it out like there was broken glass everywhere that the house was dirty(because there were dirty dishes) and there were toys all over. Cps was again called and this time they asked me if I had someone who could take all of them. My partner’s sister and her fiance came over and took all 5 home with them. We started FBSS and have completed everything that they have asked of us. We completed parenting classes on Jan. 24th, have attended both individual and couples counseling, have submitted to drug testing-which were both negative and have continued to see our children daily as well as continue to provide for their needs and wants. I now have found that our case manager has told my partner’s sister that the kids may be there for 4 or 5 or 6 months if they get to come home. On top of that the police detective interviewed me in Dec and just after midnight Feb. 1st, 2015 I was arrested and charged with 4 felony counts of child abandoment/endanderment. I have retained legal counsel for the criminal charges. I feel that we are being unfairly targeted by CPS and the police department here in Waco because we are a two mom family and our children are the product of an anonymous donor. We have never neglected our children. We have done the best we can with the crazy life we have been blessed with. Our children are a blessing and not a burden…though they can be a handful anyone with one two year old can attest that it is hard, now multiply that by four. I have never been in trouble in my life and once I was arrested I was blasted all over the news on. They videotaped my house, the address to where I don’t even feel safe anymore-not to mention that they let every child predator in the area know that there were 2yr old quads and a 5 year old at that address. I can’t seem to get any answers from CPS, and neither can our counselor who advised that she has sent over progress notes to the effect that our children should be reunited with us and should come home. Do they have to remain with the “supervisors” or can we simply pick them up and take them home? The paperwork that they have states that if we were to pick them up and take them that they are to immediately call the authorities and CPS. How can something that was described as voluntary and we have completed everything that they ask be viewed as criminal if we decide to take back the voluntary placement of our children and bring them home? Can we bring them home? Should I talk to my attorney who is handling the 2nd parent adoption or my criminal defense attorney to try to get some help with this? Can their intervention force CPS to return our children home? Any advice would be appreciated.

    • jketterman says:

      Wow. You have your hands full.

      First, the Safety Plan and voluntary placement is only that: voluntary. If there is no court order then you are free to go get your kids. Beware though, that getting your kids may prompt CPS to file a legal case against you. I would hire an attorney to have the FBSS shut down and then go get your kids. If you’ve done your services successfully, then this should be no problem.

      Your biggest problem is the criminal case. Make sure that your criminal attorney does not have you plead to anything involving kids or family violence….even if it’s a deferred adjudication. If you plead then you will lose your kids. The criminal case needs to be dismissed or reduced to something other than an abuse or neglect type case.

      I don’t know who your attorney is in Austin. Nor do I know your criminal attorney. What I do recommend is that you get an attorney — who knows CPS law — and fight to get this case shut down.

      Good luck.

  31. Phylicity says:

    Quick question, if my child is voluntary placed with a family member and I dont want her there anymore. Can I go get my child. I have finished all my parenting classes and domestic violence counseling. Now I feel like DFBS is just trying to place my child in foster care for no reason at all. I just want to know since its not court ordered that I can’t have my child can I just go get her?

  32. Sarah says:

    If a case is closed, letter recd saying so, before the end date on safety plan, is it required or recommended to continue to that date? I disagreed to it but was manipulated in believing I had to sign and it mandatory. My ex was told by caseworker that she recommended him to get a lawyer to amend our divorce decree of the joint conservatorship. My child has never been abused, neglected or in danger in any form, I’m the one that is protecting him and all they are doing is destroying our relationship with their manipulations. The case was deemed ruled out on him and risk indicated on me, but has been closed by cps. The reason for investigation isnt what was for the indicated risk on me. Do i need to pursue a cps lawyer?

    • jketterman says:

      The Safety Plan is not a court order. Even if you’ve signed it, it doesn’t mean anything. Everything in the Safety Plan is voluntary; you can stop or start working the plan whenever you want. It is not mandatory that any parent sign the safety plan.

      If the case was deemed, “risk indicated” on you, then yes, I recommend you get an attorney. The investigation is closed, but on a risk indicated CPS will most likely recommend Family Based Safety Services (FBSS). This will also be “voluntary”. I, personally, do not like my clients to participate in FBSS. I believe that it gives CPS the opportunity to “create” a case that might not be there. Additionally, anything CPS finds out during FBSS can be used against you to file a legal case to terminate your parental rights. I prefer to not give CPS that opportunity.

  33. Sandi Copelin says:

    I am desperately.trying.to.get.my kids back and need advice. My 8 yo daughter made an outcry against my.ex-fiance for sexual.abuse. At the time of the outcry, we had.already moved out of.his house. When , we brought.her in for a.police interview, she was.placed with a family.member bc they.said my home wasn’t safe. Then 3 weeks later they.placed my son with a diffetent family member.bc they said my home wasn’t safe for him, either. They never visited.my home before making this.determination. I was.trying.to.cooperate.by signong the documents for placement.and was.told.if.I.didnt.my children would.go.to foster care. Now,.I.am with FBSS.and have been.told.that I need to go.to sexual.abuse sensitivity training, which I do, and counseling. I was told I was referred.to a counselor, but not given the name bc they are supposed to contact me. It has been a.month and no one has contacted me. So, I cant do what bball they are requiring me to do. I need my kids back, / especially my son who is bipolar and ADHD, I am the only one in the.family who.can handle.him. it is causing significant issues.for my entire family.for them to be out of.my custody.

    • jketterman says:

      I’m sorry to say, this is typical of CPS and Family Based Safety Services (FBSS). I rarely recommend that parents participate in FBSS. I believe that FBSS is only an avenue used by CPS to create a case where there may not be one to begin with. If CPS has a case, force them to take it to Court and prove it. FBSS can last indefinitely with no checks and balances. If your case is in Court, you have more control in what you do and don’t do, etc.

      CPS will drag their feet when it comes to getting you set up for services. They are not on any time limit so there is no need to rush.

      I would tell them to fish or cut bait. And if there is no court order placing your kids outside the home, go get them. The Child Safety Plan that you signed is worthless.

  34. Ashley says:

    I was in an argument with my youngest daughter’s father on Sept. 8 2014. The cops were called and the officer did not list all of the facts that happened that night so it was a false report. The night we got into an argument I hit my fiance’s car completely on accident and claimed that he hit me because I was afraid that my kids would be taken because the airbags deployed and the children were in the car. It was just a big awful mess. The officer didn’t even report the accident only the argument leading up to it and my lying about being hit. He did call CPS though for bringing my children around a felon. Before we got together my fiancé had just gotten out of prison for drug charges and was trying to change his life whenever we met and has done exceptionally well since. I never would have expected him to have a criminal history upon getting to know him. He’s a wonderful man to myself and my children. He accepts my daughters as his own and takes care of us. Well when the CPS investigator came and talked to myself he insisted on going to the school to talk to my daughters and I told him repeatedly they’d be home in 15 minutes. They were asleep it happened at 2 a.m. When he came back to my house he says my oldest daughter (8)heard me yelling and was scared. Which did not make sense to me because she was knocked out asleep whenever I went to wake her up to leave and my 6 year old was still snoring. then he proceeded to tell me to sign a safety plan against my fiance or he would make a case against me to take my children. I sign the safety plan and then went to the main office to find out about it and decided I did not want to comply with what he wanted me to do once I learned the consequences. He wanted me to file charges against my fiance and get a type of restraining order that last two years against him. well then the investigator went to talk to my fiance and he refused to sign any type of safety plan because he didn’t do anything wrong and I don’t blame him because it was just an argument between us he never laid his hands on me that was all what I said and the officer didn’t even put the car accident in the police report. So since he refused to sign the safety plan the investigator took us to court for a motion to participate. Well my fiance was on parole so there was a blue warrant for his arrest because of the police report. On our court date he was incarcerated so his lawyer came and signed the papers for him and we did not go in front of the judge because the investigator continued to threaten me in the courtroom that if I did not cooperate he would put in a motion to remove my children. Well since then my fiance has gotten out of jail and we have participated in the family based program and we did have our investigation reopened and the findings were changed from reason to believe to unable to determine in his case and my case was initially ruled out. So my question to you is will the judge rule to remove my children if we do not continue the family based services and they refuse to close our case since motion to participate is in place?

    • jketterman says:

      You’re question is more complicated than a yes or no:

      If you do not continue to participate in FBSS, CPS can go to court and request several things from the judge (depending on the severity of the case). They can ask the judge to order you to aid in investigation (of the reopened case); they can file a Petition requesting OTP (which is Orders to Participate); or they can file a Petition for Termination asking the judge to place the child(ren) outside the home during the pendency of the case. Depending on the evidence presented, the judge can grant or deny their request.

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