A referral is made to Child Protective Services (CPS) that a child is in need of services and CPS assigns an intake worker to investigate the referral. The intake worker visits the home to verify the validity of the referral. If the claim is legitimate, CPS may seek a Shelter Care Order, which is an emergency custody order that allows CPS to take possession of the child or children in Ohio. Immediately after, there must be an adjudication through the court to determine whether the child is abused, neglected, or dependent. The parents have an opportunity to dispute the allegation and get a full hearing in which the case CPS has to prove that the child is either abused, neglected, or dependent.
The allegation of the child being determined to be a dependent child is the easiest thing for the state to prove because they only need to show that the child or family is in need of services. They do not have to show any abuse or that the child was not fed or properly cared for. Once a determination is made that the child is abused, neglected, or dependent, the court has a disposition within a short amount of time to determine how and where the child is going to be placed. Sometimes, the child or children remain in the care of the parents, even a dependent child. Other times, they are placed with a relative, friend, or neighbor. Child services might take temporary custody of the child. Regardless of where the child is placed, CPS is required by statute to work towards reunifying the child with the parents. This is accomplished by CPS filing a reunification case plan with the court that outlines the steps the parent has to go through to reunify with the child. Usually there is a drug assessment or mental health assessment.
In order for reunification to occur, the parent must show that whatever caused the removal has been rectified. If the parents were involved with drugs, once the parents show they are drug free and the child can be returned to their care. If they have an unsanitary house, once they prove they can keep a clean house, they usually get their children back.
What Are Possible Outcomes To A CPS Case In Ohio And How Can Your Firm Help Me?
The possible outcomes in a CPS case in Ohio are:
- The children can be reunified with the parents.
- A relative or a kinship can get legal custody of the children.
- The state can take permanent custody of the children.
If the children are placed in the legal custody of a relative, the parents still have residual parental rights, including the right to visitation, obligation to support, a right to consent to adoption, and a right to have a voice in religious upbringing. If the state takes permanent custody of the child, the parental rights are terminated.
The role of the attorney in a CPS case is to guide the parent through the case plan and ensure that the required individual steps are completed. When the parent feels they are ready, the attorney files a motion to reunify with the child. If there is a motion by the state to place a child with a relative or take permanent custody, the attorney defends the parent who wants to have their child restored and makes sure the state can prove it is in the best interest of the child for whatever outcome they are seeking.
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