State law requires anybody who believes that a child has been abused or neglected to make a report to Texas Department of Family & Protective Services (CPS) or to a law enforcement agency. The law requires CPS to investigate reports of child abuse or neglect for the primary purpose of protecting children.
When investigating a report, a CPS investigator usually:
- talks to and visually examines the child reported to have been abused or neglected. The talk with the child must be audio taped or videotaped. The interview may be conducted at any reasonable time and place, including at school. The caseworker may transport the child for purposes relating to the interview or examination and must notify the child’s parent of the transportation.
- makes a reasonable effort to notify you of any interviews and the nature of the allegations within 24 hours after an interview has taken place.
- discusses the report with you to gain an explanation about the harm or risk of abuse or neglect to the child. You can ask to see the caseworker’s DFPS identification card. The caseworker will tell you how he or she can be contacted during the investigation. It is illegal for the caseworker to tell you who made the report.
- obtains criminal history information about people alleged to have abused or neglected your child. As necessary, the caseworker may also:
- interview and visually examine all children in the home;
- interview any other person alleged to have abused or neglected your child;
- interview anyone with information about the situation, including those who can verify explanations of the harm to your child;
- ask for access to mental health records on your child, yourself, or people alleged to have abused or neglected your child;
- ask for a medical, psychological, or psychiatric examination of your child if it is necessary to establish whether abuse or neglect has occurred or if risk of abuse or neglect exists; and
- visit the child’s home.