Child protective services (CPS) threatening to take away your child can feel like the end of the world. Whether you are misusing substances or not, a drug abuse allegation may trigger an investigation and legal process that can make you feel helpless. Because the court can be harsh on people that they deem is a danger to a child, seeking an attorney may be in your best interest.
How does CPS get involved?
Typically, a CPS investigation begins when the agency receives multiple allegations of parental abuse. Unfortunately, some complaints are false or misleading and may result from someone’s malicious intent. Nevertheless, CPS must launch an investigation to ensure the child is in good hands.
Challenges you may face during a CPS investigation
The Department of Child Services (DCS) oversees CPS concerns in Indiana. To kick off its investigation, DCS will likely pay a visit to your house and interview you, as well as other members of the household. Note that your responses may be used as evidence against you in a legal proceeding.
DCS cannot enter your home without your consent or a court order. You can also refuse to answer questions until a lawyer is present. Unfortunately, many parents suspected of child abuse were unaware of their rights and were left vulnerable to incrimination.
If DCS believes you are abusing drugs, it should allow you to volunteer for Informal Adjustment. DCS will work with you to create and achieve the plan. Failure to fully abide by the plan may result in a CHINS case.
A CHINS case involves the intervention of the court. You will need to attend court hearings and prove that you are not a threat to your child. The court can order you to undergo drug testing, seek counseling and take parenting classes, and appoint a substitute carer for your child.
You might lose custody of your child and face criminal charges if a judge determines that you have a drug problem. Additionally, there are numerous instances of DCS mishandling cases, forcing innocent parents to endure hardship.
If you are a parent suspected of drug abuse, it will be a tough fight. But you do not have to face it alone. A criminal defense lawyer can help you advocate for your rights.