There have been several instances where innocent parents get entangled with child protective services. Once this happens, it is almost impossible to come out of the situation completely unscathed.
With the goal to save and protect abused children, and avoid the potential civil and criminal penalty of not reporting any suspicion of child abuse, there is now a high increase in the number of hotline calls and reports yearly.
It is common for parents to face threats of family separation and deal with restrictions on the families living arrangements and supervised family time during a Child Protective Services investigation. In some cases, those threats become a reality when out of nowhere, the kids are forcefully taken away from their parents and placed in foster care.
Parent’s whose child(ren) are forcefully taken from them tend to feel overwhelming sadness and despondency and most times have trouble sleeping. There is also a challenge with keeping up with the daily routine and regular energy fluctuations, tearfulness and mood swings. The emotional trauma is even more intense when the parents feel like there is nothing they can do to regain custody of their child(ren).
That feeling of powerlessness and helplessness over your child’s care can lead to what is called “ambiguous loss.” This means that the parents never get the closure they need to recover.
Although this might be seen as necessary collateral damage in the fight against the rampant cases of child abuse and neglect, how can parents recover from child welfare allegations?
The first step is to understand the process. Once you are notified by Child Protective Services of their intent to remove your child from your custody, it is important to get in touch with a solicitor to help you with legal advice throughout the entire process. Knowing what will happen next and having a list of actionable points to take will erase those feelings of helplessness that parents feel when their child is taken away. Oklahoma CPS lawyers are readily available to help you with that.
The next step is to have a solid social support network. Now will be the right time to reach out to extended family members, relatives, grandparents, friends etc. Having trusted people who you don’t mind being vulnerable with around you will have a positive impact on your emotional, physical and mental wellbeing.
Finally, communicate frequently with your Child Protective Services caseworker. It will help to know where your child is going to be placed. Usually, the first option will be to place your child with a family member or relative. If that is the case, find out if you are allowed to visit and for how long. In cases where no relatives or friends are available to care for the child, Child Protective Services will place the child with a foster family or in a children’s home. Either way, follow up with the caseworker.
Remember that the best way to speed up the resolution of child welfare allegations is to get legal advice.