Having a worker from Texas’ Child Protective Services (CPS) show up at your door can be a shock to the system. It’s intimidating to have one demand entrance to your home and access to your child. What should you do?
First, stay calm and remain civil. This is a situation where you want to listen a lot more than you talk, and there’s nothing to be gained by letting your anger or frustration show. Take the approach outlined here.
Do not allow the CPS worker into your home
Far too many parents think that they can “clear things up” by allowing a CPS worker to enter their home and see how normal everything actually is – but that’s a mistake. Once the CPS worker is in your home, they’re free to interpret (or misinterpret) things however they wish. Further, you’ve at least partially waived your Fourth Amendment rights.
Expect some push-back from the CPS worker when you refuse entry. They may tell you that they have the right to enter without your permission. However, absent a clear emergency, they do not. They may tell you that they’ll return with the police. Let them. The police also cannot enter your home without your permission or a warrant, so their presence behind a CPS worker is just designed to try to intimidate you further.
Record and document everything
Texas is a one-party consent state, which means that you have the right to record your interactions with CPS, even if the CPS worker doesn’t like it. Grab your phone or other recording device and make sure that you capture everything that is said or done. That may be useful to show the caseworker’s attempts to bully or harass you into complying with their demands.
CPS won’t just go away once they’ve started an investigation, so the wisest move you can make next is to get experienced legal guidance right away.