Most people know that any time you are stopped or questioned by the police, it is best to take advantage of your rights and remains silent until your lawyer is present. You should heed this advice if you are ever contacted by Child Protective Services or the Division of Family and Children services too. Even if you are sure it is some kind of mistake, do not risk it. Contact a family law firm and ask to speak with the partner who has the most experience with these agencies. If someone shows up at your door from one of the agencies, ask them to wait outside until you can get a lawyer there. Yes, it is that important. Here are just a few ways an attorney can help.
Explain the Charges
Caseworkers from different family agencies may try to keep you from knowing what the problem is. They may also make a simple statement such as "neglect" or "abuse," and not go into detail. You have the right to know exactly what was said and what the problem is. When you are alone, it can be scary. You may not know how to talk to the caseworker in a manner that will not seem aggressive or guilty. Your lawyer can ask the appropriate questions to find the answers to all your questions and then speak with you in private to get your side of the situation. You will know what you are being accused of exactly and will not make a statement that can be twisted into an admission of guilt when your lawyer is there.
Create a Service Plan
If there is evidence of a problem, and the caseworker has even a slight reason to be concerned for the safety of your children, he or she may want to remove them from the home. A lawyer can talk with the social worker and help set up an alternative for taking the children. This is often referred to as a service plan. This plan must be followed for the children to remain at home. It can include stipulations such as cleaning the home, changing the hours you work, keeping someone else from contact with the children (this could be a significant other, spouse, live-in friend, or babysitter), or undergoing some type of counseling. You may need to find a close friend or relative to take the children while certain parts of the plan are worked on. This is better than having them put into a foster home.
A family lawyer with experience working with government agencies can make the difference in keeping your family together or reduce the amount of time you must be separated. Do not wait until after you have met with the social worker; contact a lawyer from a firm like Caldwell Kennedy & Porter immediately.