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What Happens During a Child Protective Investigation in Texas?

Posted on in Criminal Defense

Fort Worth child abuse and neglect defense attorney

Many parents who are contacted by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) are shocked when they realize that they are being investigated for potential child abuse or neglect. While many child protective investigations are the result of justified concerns regarding children’s safety, some investigations are the result of a misunderstanding or misinterpretation. If you are currently facing accusations of child neglect, child abuse, or domestic violence, it is possible that you will be investigated by the DFPS. Therefore, it is important to understand how Texas law handles these types of accusations of crimes against children

Allegations of Child Abuse or Neglect

According to Texas law, anyone who reasonably believes that a child has been neglected or abused must report the possible mistreatment to law enforcement or the DFPS. The DFPS is required by law to investigate these reports and make a determination about the validity of the accusations.

When the DFPS investigates a family for potential child abuse, the investigator will explain the reasons for the investigation and discuss child safety concerns with the parents or guardians. The investigation may also include interviews with the children, parents, and other individuals who may have information about the alleged mistreatment. The investigator may also ask to review the mental health records of children or adults involved in the investigation. In some cases, a medical or psychiatric examination of the children may be needed to determine whether abuse or neglect has taken place.

Possible Outcomes From a DFPS Investigation

There are several different outcomes that may result from a DFPS investigation. If there is sufficient evidence confirming the allegations of child neglect or abuse, the DFPS may conclude that the children are unsafe. This could result in the DFPS filing a civil petition to have the children removed from the home. In some cases, the parents may even be in danger of losing their parental rights entirely. It is also possible that criminal consequences may result from allegations of child abuse or neglect.

According to the Texas Penal Code, a person commits injury to a child if he or she knowingly, recklessly, or by omission causes bodily injury or mental injury to a child. This may be charged as a felony, which carries up to 99 years or life in prison and/or a $10,000 maximum fine.

A parent or other individual may be charged with child abandonment if he or she leaves a child under age 15 in a situation in which the child is exposed to an unreasonable risk of harm. Child abandonment can be charged as a felony depending on the circumstances of the case, which can result in up to 20 years in jail and $10,000 in fines.

Contact a Plano, Texas Child Abuse Attorney

If you have been accused of domestic violence, child abuse, injury to a child, child abandonment, or a related offense, you may be at risk of losing your parental rights and being incarcerated. In some cases, the charges may be based on false allegations. At The Crowder Law Firm, P.C., we work diligently to protect the rights of those accused of these serious crimes. Attorney Darlina Crowder is a highly experienced Collin County criminal defense lawyer who has secured hundreds of acquittals and not guilty verdicts for her clients. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 214-303-9600.

 

Sources:
https://www.dfps.state.tx.us/Investigations/parents_guide_to_investigation.asp
https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/PE/htm/PE.22.htm

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