Important Things to Know About DHS and How Child Welfare Cases Are Processed
DHS has two divisions. They have the Child Protective Services Division, who investigate allegations of child abuse or neglect and coordinate visits, and they have the ongoing permanency workers, who do the ongoing case work with the family.
Child welfare complaints typically get filed from a teacher, a neighbor, a family friend, or someone who has a relationship with the child. A complaint can be filed via the Child Protective Services hotline.
The hotline staff will divide the reports into several categories that will trigger measured responses, depending on the seriousness of the allegation. If there are signs that a child might be in danger of abuse or neglect, there will be an immediate response within 24 hours.
If CPS knocks on your door, there are two things to know: you are not legally obligated to let anyone into your home unless a warrant is presented, and it’s important to not get agitated or reactive—doing so will almost guarantee an intervention.
If your children are taken, the following court appearances may be required, depending on the facts of each unique case, whether a settlement is reached, and each parent’s willingness to address the area of concern:
· A shelter hearing, a jurisdictional hearing, a dispositional proceeding, periodic reviews, a permanency hearing, and potentially a termination of parental rights trial. We explain each of these in the podcast.