Once CPS is involved logic and truth do not necessarily win out. Someone has to be your advocate. Someone has to take your case to the Judge and to CPS. CPS is not on your side. They are supposed to be one the side of the child or children in the case. The problem is that without a lawyer expereinced in CPS cases advocating for you, CPS and the State of Texas will be able to run over you just like in any other case.
If you were charged with a criminal case, you would get a lawyer. CPS cases are more serious than a criminal case because within one year, your right to even have contact with your own child can be taken away. Children Protective Services have their own way of doing things and sometime that way is not logical or intellectually honest to those not familiar with the CPS system.
Every CPS Court in every CPS County is different. Montgomery County is unique in the way the Judge rules and directs his Court. Just because you know someone that had a CPS case in another county does not mean they know how to prepare you or advise you for Montgomery County East Texas Cluster Court in Conroe.
Out of County lawyers who practice CPS law will not necessarily know how to deal with the CPS Court in Montgomery County, in fact, some do not even know how to find it in the Courthouse.
CPS cases are expensive. If you can not afford to make payments of at least $5,000, you probably can not get the most experienced representation. In every case there is an Adversary Hearing, Family Group Conference, Status Hearing, Multiple Permanency Hearings, Fifth Month Conferences, Service Plans, Discovery, Mediation (sometimes), and a Final Trial (possible jury trial). Each of these items takes hours of time and potentially fatal legal mistakes can be made at each one.
If you have a case in Montgomery County, call and get a free consultation at the Steinmann Law Firm, Counsel and Services (steinmannlaw.com). We have over 20 years in dealing with CPS cases and are conveniently located directly across the street from Montgomery County CPS offices. After hours and weekend appointments are available.
Emergency contact - CPS is at the door - 936-537-5585. Bert Steinmann
Resource Letter:For Judges and Attorneys Handling Child Protective Services CasesJune 13, 2018 DFPS "30 in 30" Program Information and Implementation Schedule According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children and youth in foster care have significant medical needs. For example,
Effective December 31, 2018, DFPS will be legally required to implement statewide an initial medical screening within three business days of children and youth coming into foster care. This “3-Day Medical Exam” is an additional medical screening beyond what was previously required. The new 3-day Medical Exam is being combined with the existing Texas Health Steps and the ongoing CANS Assessment currently required and together they will be known as the “3 in 30” Program. This comprehensive approach to assessing a child’s medical health, behavioral health, and developmental needs will provide DFPS with a greater understanding of the needs and strengths of children in its care and chart the path for service planning from the very beginning.
Q: What is “3 in 30”? A: “3 in 30” is a new assessment program that is required for each child placed in the conservatorship of DFPS. The program includes three exams or assessments:
Q: What does the 3-Day Medical Exam encompass? A: The 3-Day Medical Exam is a medical screening that is intended to provide a baseline of a child’s physical health upon entering foster care. It is designed to identify existing needs or conditions, including previously unknown chronic medical conditions such as asthma or diabetes. It is also an opportunity for the caregiver to obtain necessary medications for a child which may not have been obtained at the time of removal, such as an asthma inhaler or eczema cream. Children and youth may not be administered vaccinations at the 3-day Medical Exam unless medical consent from the biological parent is given. The only exception is if there is an emergent need for a tetanus vaccination.
Q: Who provides the 3-Day Medical Exam? A: The 3-Day Medical Exam must be completed by a credentialed STAR Health medical provider such as a Nurse Practitioner, Clinical Nurse Specialist or Physician’s Assistant. In addition, youth can be seen for their 3-Day Medical Exam at a Federally Qualified Health Center or Rural Health Clinic. The 3-Day Medical Exam cannot be completed remotely via telemedicine.
Q: What is the Texas Health Steps Exam? A: The Texas Health Steps exam is an age-appropriate medical checkup which includes medical screenings, vaccinations, and lab tests recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Children in DFPS conservatorship, including children in foster care and kinship care, must get Texas Health Steps medical and dental checkups, which are comprehensive head-to-toe checks that allow the doctor to treat problems early, and ensure a child is growing and developing as expected. The Texas Health program, known in federal law as the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment (EPSDT) program, is Medicaid’s preventive healthcare program for children, teens, and young adults age 20 and younger.
Q: Who provides the Texas Health Steps Exam? A: Only STAR Health credentialed, licensed medical practitioners who are enrolled as Texas Health Steps providers may do Texas Health Steps checkups.
Q: What is the CANS Assessment? A: The Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths Assessment (CANS) is a developmentally appropriate, comprehensive assessment of each child which is conducted by a STAR Health clinician within 30 days of the child entering DFPS conservatorship. Since September 1, 2016, DFPS has used the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths Assessment (CANS) to ensure uniformity and consistency in evaluating each child's needs and strengths, assist in service planning, inform placement decisions, and reduce the number of assessments administered to children in DFPS conservatorship. For more information about the CANS Assessment, please link to the Children’s Commission’s JIR letter: Child Adolescent Needs and Strengths Assessment and Family Strength and Needs Assessment
Q: Who provides the CANS Assessment? A: The CANS is also administered by a credentialed STAR Health provider.
Q: Who is responsible for ensuring the "3 in 30" occurs? A: The removal caseworker is responsible for ensuring that the 3-Day Medical Exam is scheduled and completed. The child’s caregiver could assist in scheduling and it is ideal for the caregiver to transport the youth and to be present to hear recommendations for care from the medical provider. STAR Health can help connect the worker or caregiver with a medical provider in their area. The ongoing caseworker is responsible for Texas Health Steps and CANS. In most cases, the ongoing worker will be the Conservatorship worker.
Q: What is the 3 in 30 implementation schedule for the State? A: The 3 in 30 Program is being introduced with the implementation of the 3-Day Medical Exam. The roll out schedule is as follows: Implementation Date : DFPS Region April 1st : 1, 7, 9, 10*June 1st : 3E, 3WAugust 1st : 4, 5, 6A, 6BOctober 1st : 8, 11*Note: Lubbock County is already implemented.
Q: How can judges help? A: Judges can help ensure that children in foster care have received a 3-Day Medical Exam, Texas Health Steps medical checkup, and CANS by inquiring at the Adversary and Status Hearings about the status of each assessment.