If it has been alleged, that you have been neglectful or abusive toward your children, the Department of Children’s Services, or DCS, has the power to take them into the custody of the state of Tennessee. If this happens to you, it is very important to know how to proceed next. Your case will be assigned a caseworker who will probably discuss your case with you. However, you should also consult with an attorney of your own to ensure that your rights are not violated. You should keep all communications regarding the issue between yourself and your attorney because if you discuss details of the case with other relatives, friends, or on social media, the discussion could be somehow used against you later.
The caseworker who is assigned to your case may believe the allegations that were made against you and may think that you are “the bad guy.” Even if the caseworker shows some hostility toward you or seems inclined to disbelieve you, it is still crucial that you remain calm and treat the worker with respect. Whether or not you do this can have a future bearing on the outcome of your case. You must also be honest with the caseworker, as any falsehoods that are later discovered will work against you as you try to get your child or children back. If you are burdened with troublesome issues that have interfered with your ability to care for a child, find a therapist or counselor to work through these and do not discuss them with the caseworker.
A preliminary court hearing is held within one or two weeks of the date that your child was taken from you. During this hearing, the court states the reasons why they believed it was necessary to take your child from you. It will also set a date for the next hearing, which is the adjudicatory hearing. At this hearing, the court will try to prove with more solid evidence that your children needed to be taken away from you into state custody. If they cannot do this, your child or children will then be returned to you. However, if they are able to show that you were negligent or that the child’s safety was jeopardized, then the state is awarded custody. After this happens, the parents must take specific steps to get back their child. There will be a permanency plan meeting at which your attorney should be present. At this meeting, options for disposition of the child will be discussed.
Losing your children due to an allegation of neglect or abuse is a very traumatic experience. If you have been accused of neglect or abuse, call to schedule a consultation with a Tennessee family law attorney today. The compassionate professionals at the Integrity Law Firm, PLLC are familiar with the DCS and their operations and will be your advocate and voice during these complicated proceedings. We serve the cities of Chattanooga, Cleveland, Soddy Daisy, Collegedale, and surrounding Tennessee communities. You can view our web page at theintegritylaw.com or reach us by phone at 423-498-5001. Call us today and let us give you your best chance of getting your family reunited.