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September/October 2015Vol. 16, No. 7Parent Guide to Child Protective Services

A handbook for parents involved with the Texas child welfare system aims to help parents understand the system, their roles and responsibilities, and those of others involved in their case. Parent Resource Guide walks parents through each step of the process beginning from a report of suspected child abuse to the course of a child protective services (CPS) investigation and case closure. Based on input from parents, parent advocates, caseworkers, and family law attorneys, this handbook answers questions related to the different stages of a CPS case and addresses common issues and concerns such as going to court, complying with a service plan, understanding circumstances needing a child's removal from home, and working toward reunification.

Focused on positive and concrete tips parents can follow to protect their children and family, the handbook highlights some of the following key topics:

  • Reasons for investigation
  • Helping and advocating for yourself
  • Role of professionals
  • Confidentiality
  • Court process and permanency planning
  • Family group decision-making
  • Legal representation
  • Visits

The resource guide covers parents' rights and responsibilities and provides details about the court hearing, the range of available support services, and avenues of recourse. Appendices include definitions of terms, child welfare statutes, and various case management resources such as a checklist, a contact page, and calendar. The Parent Resource Guide was produced by the Supreme Court of Texas Children’s Commission with funding from the Court Improvement Program and in partnership with the University of Texas William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law. It is available on the University of Texas website at (2 MB), and well as the Children's Commission's website at (2 MB).