For a parent, there is nothing more terrifying than having someone take your child from you. If that “someone” is a Child Protection Worker working for the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (DCS) you will, at least, know where your child was taken and have some assurance that your child will be well taken care of while not in your care; however, every moment that your child is not with you will be agonizing. If you find yourself in this position the first question you may ask is “ Do I need a lawyer if my child is removed by child protection? ” The simple answer is “yes.”
In the State of Tennessee, Child Protection Workers are responsible for investigating allegations of abuse and/or neglect of a minor child. Those allegation may come from a wide variety of sources, including, but not limited to a family doctor, a child’s teacher or school, daycare providers, hospitals, family members, or neighbors. If the subsequent investigation substantiates those allegations the Child Protection Worker may, or may not, remove the child at that time. According to DCS policy a worker is required to attempt to provide services to parents or guardians first in an effort to prevent removal of the child; however, if the worker believes the child is in immediate danger a child may be removed without first offering services. Once a child has been removed it is often a long road to getting the child returned to the home. Having an experienced Tennessee family law attorney on your side will make a dramatic difference as you navigate the legal system.
Although the official goal of the DCS is reunification of a child with his/her parent(s), it often seems as though that is not the case. Once a child has been removed, a parent must first understand what is required to achieve the child’s return and then convince a judge that those requirements have been met. No two removal cases are the same, meaning that no two requirements are the same. The reunification plan is tailored to address the reasons for removal. In some cases a parent is required to attend parenting classes while in others the requirements may include drug testing and substance abuse counseling. A single mistake, missed appointment, or misunderstood requirement can set a parent back to square one with the judge. It can seem like an uphill battle for a parent and one that is better fought with legal counsel by your side.
If your child has been removed from the home by Child Protection Workers, contact the experienced Tennessee family law attorneys at Bennett, Michael & Hornsby. Contact the team today by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your appointment.