In Texas, a Child Protective Services investigation may be initiated after the police are dispatched to a home for a family violence call (domestic violence), after a concerned citizen calls the Texas Abuse Hotline, or after a mandatory reporter places a call to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) on suspicion of child abuse.
Once a Child Protective Services (CPS) investigation has begun, the caseworker should strive to complete the investigation within 30 days of becoming aware of the report, if at all possible. In some cases, however, a supervisor may approve a caseworker’s request for an extension.
Priority I & Priority II Reports
Reports of child abuse are divided into two categories: Priority I and Priority II. If children appear to be in immediate danger of abuse or neglect, or if the caseworker believes there is a risk of serious harm or death, the investigation should begin within 24 hours of the initial report. These cases are grouped into the Priority I category. Other cases of abuse fall into the Priority II category, and are investigated within 72 hours of the report.
Sometimes, a report will come in, yet it will not meet the Texas Family Code’s legal definition of child abuse or neglect. These reports will not be assigned a priority, and it is possible that they will not be investigated. Common reasons why a report would not be investigated, include:
- The allegations are too vague or general.
- The report does not contain enough information to locate the child’s family or their residence.
- The situation is already being investigated by a caseworker.
- Based on the nature of the report, the child does not seem to be a victim of neglect or abuse now or in the future.
If you are a biological parent, adoptive parent, or stepparent who is being investigated for child abuse, Hunt Law Firm, PLLC may be able to help. Contact us today.