Clarksville DCS & CPS Investigation Attorneys
Tennessee Department of Children Service Laws
Being accused of abuse, neglect or abandonment can result in an investigation by the Tennessee Department of Children Services (DCS). Not only could an investigation can result in your child being taken away from you, but you may also face criminal charges for your alleged actions. Due to the seriousness of this kind of situation, you need to hire an attorney who has experience in both family law and criminal defense matters.
At Grimes, Sensing & Clemons PLLC, we provide compassionate and effective legal solutions for clients who are being investigated by DCS and those interested in seeking guardianship of minor children. Our legal team can conduct our own investigation, collect supporting evidence, negotiate with the courts, and help you get the best possible outcome in your case.
Call us today at (931) 398-5308 to schedule a free case evaluation.
Child Abuse and Neglect Investigations
When there is a report of child abuse or neglect, Child Protective Services (CPS) is mandated by Tennessee law to investigate the situation. The child and alleged abuser – as well parents and other witnesses – are interviewed separately. The initial phases of an investigation also include observations of the child’s home environment and either a medical examination of the child’s condition or treatment to a child’s injuries. After the initial phases of investigation are complete, the investigator will give an preliminary assessment made in the P1, P2, or P3 status:
- P1 - the child is in immediate danger and needs to be removed.
- P2 - the child should be removed within 24 hours
- P3 - the child should be removed within 48 hours
Parents can cooperate with the DCS investigation and give investigators access to the premises. However, failure to comply can lead to court-ordered compliance with the assistance of local police.
What is the DCS Investigation Process in Tennessee?
If the DCS determines the child has been abused or neglected, or in need of treatment or rehabilitation, the child will be taken into DCS custody. Furthermore, if a parent receives an “allegation indicated” letter (i.e. alleged abuse has occurred, but no abuser has been identified) or “perpetrator indicated” letter, he/she can file an appeal – in writing – with the local DCS office.
Within 30 days of an investigation, DCS will schedule a home visit and a family team meeting, which includes the parents and DCS representatives. The team must create a permanency plan, which consists of steps the parents must take to regain custody and approved by the court.
Successfully following the permanency plan and judicial approval will result in the release of a child from DSC to the parents. On the other hand, if the parents fail to comply with the plan, then a judge can seek to terminate their parental rights.
Grimes, Sensing & Clemons PLLC Child Services Legal Counsel
DCS investigations can be emotionally overwhelming, which is why it is important to have a knowledgeable and skilled legal advocate on your side throughout each step. Our firm can guide you through the complexities of the investigation process while protecting your rights and best interests. We are ready to help you immediately.
For more information about our legal services, contact us today.