This is the next post in my series explaining what Las Vegas parents should know if Child Protective Services opens an investigation regarding their child. My previous post explained what happens if a caseworker makes a home visit and determines that an active CPS case should be opened. In this post I will explain the importance of following the case plan that one’s social worker will put in place.
When one’s children are taken away from them, or there is a danger of children being taken out of the home, it is understandable to feel as if the system is working against the parent. However, the number one goal of the Division of Child and Family Services is always to reunite parents and children whenever possible. This can only be done if parents address the issues that are placing their child in harm’s way. Specific areas will be identified once CPS has determined that abuse allegations can be substantiated. If children are removed from the home then the family’s social worker will become the children’s official guardian until the case is deemed “closed.” The social worker assigned to work with the family will put together a specific case plan which must be implemented before the home is deemed safe.
Case plans will be specific to each individual situation and will be created according to the needs of the child. Examples of case plan requirements include:
- Proof of safe and appropriate housing
- Proof of employment
- Therapy (either for the child, parent, or family therapy)
- Anger management for the parent
- Parenting classes
- Alcohol and substance abuse classes
- Anger management classes
- Proof of a child receiving medical care
- Proof of child attending school
- Tutoring for child
It is up to one’s social worker to determine what requirements a parent must meet. The social worker will act as the coordinator for all services and will help put the parent in contact with other professionals as needed. Such professionals may include counselors and classes which give specific certifications of completion. If many requirements are placed on a parent and it is expected that the case plan will take time to complete then the social worker may call interdisciplinary meetings at regular intervals to discuss the parent’s progress.
It is extremely important for parents to establish a good working relationship with their social worker and cooperate with their family plan. While it is not unusual for social workers to allow parents to have more time if they experience a treatment set back, one’s children will not be returned until all requirements are met and the home is deemed safe. In the most extreme of cases, if a parent shows zero progress of cooperating with their social worker, parental rights may be terminated altogether. While this is rare, it also shows the importance of taking these requirements seriously. Contact my office today to speak with a Las Vegas CPS attorney.