“How long does it take to get your child back from CPS” is a question often posed by parents who have had their children removed from their homes. How soon you can get your child back will depend on the CPS investigation duration, where the child is placed, and the family court process.
That means you could get your child back in a few weeks or, sometimes, several months. In this article, we discuss the CPS timeline to determine how soon your child can return to their home.
How Long Does CPS Take To Return Your Child Home?
It takes a few weeks or up to 24 months for CPS to return your child home. The exact duration depends on the case plan you and CPS develop. The faster you correct the situation that resulted in child removal, the faster you can get your child back.
– CPS Custody Time Limits
The timeline begins when CPS receives a report, but how long does cps have to investigate? When a report regarding suspected child abuse or neglect is made, a social worker will visit your home within 72 hours to investigate these claims. The visit might come as soon as within 24 hours of the report if it is suspected that the child is in danger.
Upon verifying the report’s legitimacy, the social worker will request the court to issue an emergency custody order (ECO). With this order, the social worker can remove your child from your home and place them with a close relative or in a foster home. The CPS timeline generally comprises various court hearings, as outlined below.
– Emergency Removal Hearing
Hearings differ among courts and states, and this hearing could be referred to as a preliminary protective or shelter hearing. It is held within 72 hours after child removal to determine whether the child should be returned to their home or remain in foster care pending a hearing on the claims in the petition.
You can get your child back after this hearing unless the court establishes that the child protective services agency has made a prima facie showing that the danger of harm is enough to warrant child removal.
– Fact-Finding/Adjudicatory Hearing
Also known as a jurisdictional hearing in some states, this trial allows the judge to hear the allegation of child abuse or neglect charged against the parent by the child protective agency. If CPS detained your child, this hearing could be held within 15 days (excluding weekends and holidays).
During this hearing, the court makes a factual finding of the allegations made by the protective services agency. If CPS proves its claims, the judge sustains the petition and grants CPS jurisdiction over the child. Otherwise, the court dismisses the case and orders child protective services to return the child to their home.
You can have your child back sooner by retaining independent counsel from the beginning of your case. An experienced attorney can present the necessary evidence to rebut the CPS case and conduct a thorough cross-examining of witnesses. Ultimately, they can help get the petition dismissed and have the child returned to your custody.
– Dispositional Hearing
If the judge upholds the CPS petition, then a disposition hearing follows. It could be conducted immediately after the jurisdictional hearing, though it may be continued for a few days if the child remains under child protective services.
During this hearing, the court establishes whether or not the child is a dependent. The court may then go on to address child placement and reunification services. During this hearing, the social worker submits a case plan detailing the necessary steps you must take to remedy the problem that resulted in child removal.
It is important to note that the disposition court can overrule jurisdictional findings even if it has already declared jurisdiction over your child. That way, the court might dismiss the CPS petition or order informal supervision without asserting dependency.
If a court declares jurisdiction over your child and asserts that they are dependent, it must decide whether the child may live in your home while you participate in the reunification services.
You can get your child back during this stage unless CPS presents irrefutable evidence that returning the child would cause significant risk to their safety or emotional well-being. An attorney can help convince the judge to order CPS to return your child to your home.
– Review Hearings
Status reviews or review hearings allow you to get your child back if the court ordered reunification services and placed the child with a foster family. The juvenile court assesses the child’s status and the progress you’ve made in your case plan.
Review hearings are meant to determine whether returning the child to their home is safe. CPS has the burden to show that the circumstances warrant continued outside placement. Yet, the court may order continued outside placement if the parent hasn’t made substantial progress or hardly participates in a court-ordered treatment program.
Courts usually hold review hearings every six months, and you must show progress on your case plan. This way, you have a better chance of having your child returned.
– Permanency Planning Hearing
It is known as a twelve-month review or permanency hearing in some states. Courts would conduct this hearing if outside placement with reunification services continued after the six-month review hearing. Usually, it is held no later than one year after the child was placed outside your home.
The law mandates the court to release the child to their home unless doing so puts them at significant risk of harm. CPS has to prove such risk by a preponderance of the evidence.
If you’re serious about getting your child back from CPS, you must have done everything possible to show the court that you can provide a safe home for your child. You can’t just write a letter to judge to get child back from CPS – you have to show that you’ve rectified that which made CPS remove your child.
Some parents often ask: can cps take your child permanently? During this stage, the court may terminate reunification services and hold a hearing on the child’s permanent plan for adoption, long-term foster home, or legal guardianship unless it establishes that there is a chance that the child could return to their home within six months.
If the court terminates reunification services, you could be staring at losing custody of your child and, even worse, your parental rights. If CPS guidelines for child removal were followed, reunification services offered, and you still haven’t convinced the judge that you can protect and provide a safe home for your child, you risk losing your child permanently.
How Can You Get Your Child From CPS Quickly?
You can get your child from CPS quickly by working closely with the court and following all recommendations. You could also hire a reputable attorney and get the best guidance for each step so that your child is returned to you faster.
If you’ve been asking the “how long can CPS keep your child?” question, you now know that the process can drag on for up to 24 months. If you want your child back quickly, you should work closely with CPS to resolve any issues.
When your social worker visits you, you must cooperate. However, you should consult an attorney when asked to take a drug test. You don’t want to do anything that will complicate getting your child back.
Most importantly, you should retain an experienced attorney to help protect your rights throughout the process. Additionally, they will guide you on the best way to get your child back quickly, so that you’re not left wondering “why is CPS taking so long?” over and over.
Common questions asked by parents dealing with CPS cases are “how long does it take to get your child back from CPS?” and “how long does it take to get your child back from foster care?” This article has highlighted the CPS case timeline, and here are the points to remember:
- Getting your child back from CPS might take a few days to 24 months.
- The duration depends on the child’s initial placement and the case plan developed by CPS and other involved parties.
- If CPS places your child in a foster home or a close relative, the court will hold regular review hearings within six months to determine if they can return the child under your custody.
Having your child removed from your home is emotionally draining, and it is even harder to accept that you might lose your parental rights. If you’re in this situation, you should work with an experienced attorney throughout the case.
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