How to Beat CPS
Having lost several of her children, she was trying to figure out how to beat CPS when she called Abrazo for help. (She has a name, of course, but for the sake of privacy, let’s call her Myra.)
Despite those who think that addicts don’t care about their kids, Myra loves her children very much. Back when they were with her, she says, she gave them everything she had, and worked extra shifts when she could to make sure they had not just the basics, but the extra stuff, too.
She’d even left an abusive husband in hopes of shielding her kids from family violence. Having grown up an abused kid herself, she wanted to be sure her own children didn’t grow up thinking that sort of thing was okay. She met a new guy who was great with her kids, so Myra kept the bills paid and he moved in to help with her kids while she was at work. She started using speed so she had the energy to work double shifts for extra pay, but she kept her stash in her work locker to keep it out of the house.
Then, coming back from a friend’s barbecue one night, Myra and her boyfriend got pulled over for a broken tail light on his car. The kids weren’t wearing their seat belts, and when the cops ran the plates, they learned the car had been reported stolen and Myra’s boyfriend had outstanding warrants. Myra argued with the police and got arrested as well, and when her drug test came back positive, her kids wound up in the care of Child Protective Services. As a result, Myra lost her job, and then her apartment– right after the boyfriend, when she couldn’t raise the money to bond him out.
She tried her best to jump through all of CPS’ hoops to get her kids back, but between the parenting classes and the drug tests and the employment requirement and her lack of a home, her time ran out and her rights were terminated. Her children were lost to her, and Myra was devastated.
Child Protective Services in Texas
It’s a crisis that thousands of Texas parents find themselves facing every year. As of January 2018, there were 16,399 children ranging in age from 0-17 in the Texas foster care system (which does not include all children in the State’s care.) In order to remove a child from his or her home, CPS needs only to be able to prove to a court that there is an immediate danger to the physical health or safety of the child, that a child has been the victim of neglect or sexual abuse or that remaining in the home would be contrary to the child’s welfare. Sites like FightCPS.com and Something for the People recount horror stories of child welfare cases gone wrong, and in Texas, even the State has admitted its child protection system is badly broken and in need of reform.
Myra tried to appeal the family court’s ruling against her, but being unable to afford a good lawyer’s fees, her efforts went nowhere. Myra had turned to an old boyfriend for comfort, but he went back to his wife when she told him she was pregnant, so by the time Myra contacted Abrazo, she was feeling her life was falling apart.
“I know CPS will show up at the hospital when this baby is born, and I don’t want them to ever get another of my kids, no matter what,” she told us. She saw adoption as being the best assurance she had that her child would be safe, cared for, and free from CPS involvement.
We talked with her about the other options available to her, or course. However, Myra admitted that her substance abuse problems had only grown worse since she’d lost everything. She had no family support, the baby’s father wanted nothing to do with her or the baby, and the idea of a voluntary foster care placement while she tried to get back on her feet was too much like CPS for her tastes.
She chose to place her baby for adoption with a caring Abrazo couple who understood her history and embraced her need to maintain a lifelong connection with this child she loved so but could not parent.
Beating the System
To be sure, working for Child Protective Services in Texas is a thankless job. The number of child abuse and neglect cases in Texas increase every year, and the staff burnout and turnover rates remain such great problems, Texas no longer requires its caseworkers to hold a college degree. Our family courts and child welfare workers do their best to protect at-risk children, but they get little credit when their work changes lives, and all the blame when innocent lives are lost.
Myra longs for some assurance of the welfare of her children who were taken by CPS. But years after her adoption with Abrazo, Myra still has a very special place in that child’s life, and in the hearts of her adoptive parents. They have gone the extra mile to search for the birthsiblings Myra lost to the CPS system, in hopes that Myra’s kids will not be forever penalized by CPS’ involvement in Myra’s life. Myra went through rehab, then got into trade school, and she now has a place of her own again, and a steady job, as well. Myra sees her daughter’s adoptive family as loving relatives who adopted her, too, and she credits them for giving her the emotional support she needed to start over.
The best way how to beat CPS is to parent so effectively that your home never comes into question, of course. Adoption is not an “easy answer” for anyone, and should always be considered a last resort, since even a voluntary placement means a painful loss for that child’s first family. For any parent needing to know how to fight CPS, please review this helpful guide available on the websites of numerous attorneys who now specialize in fighting CPS (for sizable fees, of course.)
But if, like Myra, you view a voluntary adoption plan as your best option for meeting your child’s needs while keeping Child Protective Services out of both your lives, then let Abrazo help you with an open adoption plan that will enable you and your child to stay in touch– because that’s what we do best.