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Can CPS Interview a Minor Child at School Without Permission?

For a parent with a minor child, there are few things more frightening than sudden state intervention in the family unit. Having Child Protective Services (CPS) show up at a home or a child’s school can make the entire family incredibly anxious and might potentially lead to interventions that could include the children’s removal from the family home.

Many parents have very fearful responses to the realization that CPS has expressed an interest in their family. Sometimes, they attempt to fight back. For example, they may question whether it was it a violation of the family’s rights for CPS to pull the children out of class while they were attending public school.

CPS has the authority to talk with at-risk children

Texas has given the state workers employed by CPS certain authorities. They will review complaints made by any party, including mandated reporters working at schools. The need to investigate allegations of abuse or neglect typically requires a conversation with the child allegedly experiencing neglect or abuse in their family home.

In some cases, they ask to interview the child when they show up at the family home, but frequently they will try to speak with the children before the parents are even aware of the investigation. Often, this process involves having the child removed from class while at school to answer questions in a counseling office or meeting room.

Although it can feel invasive and inappropriate for these state officials to speak with a child without a parent present, such efforts occur because there is a desire to protect vulnerable children from abuse.

Families need to know their rights to handle CPS investigations

Parents usually cannot prevent CPS employees from communicating with their children when they are at school, but they can limit their access to the children in their own homes. Parents can try to limit how much exposure their children have to the investigation overall, as the stress it creates could be bad for their mental health.

The entire family will likely feel the impact of the investigation and will worry about what state involvement might mean for the household. Those who respond properly can protect themselves and their loved ones from further stress. Typically, those who understand their rights are at lower risk of a poor outcome when dealing with a CPS investigation. Learning more about family rights when dealing with Texas CPS with the assistance of a legal professional can benefit those who are concerned about their parental rights.