“Termination of parental rights” are among the most terrifying words a parent can hear. Child Protective Services (CPS) have broad powers to impact families in their efforts to safeguard children from dangerous home environments and there are many possible reasons for terminating parental rights. Termination for drug use requires clear and convincing evidence that the drug use was in a manner that endangers the health and safety of the child. However, failure to meet these standards does not prevent Child Protective Services (CPS) from intervening in the family, it just prevents removal without a court order. Evidence of some marijuana use, for example, is not, by itself, the same as drug abuse or endangerment.
It is critically important to know when and how to challenge CPS actions related to termination of parental rights or conservatorship for drug use. The right timing and presentation of an effective challenge to CPS actions – at the beginning of the case – can derail CPS’s plans for termination of parental rights. Any meaningful analysis of how drug use might affect a CPS case should take into account where the use occurred, what drug was used, the level of the use, and whether the child was in the parent’s care at the time.
If you feel as if you have been the victim of an overreaching agency like CPS regarding your parental rights, talk to a Family Law and Child Welfare Law specialist at Connolly & Shireman. Our experienced attorneys routinely hold CPS accountable to the legal standards related to termination of parental rights or conservatorship of children.