Department of Children Services Defense Lawyers
Tennessee DCS Attorneys
Have you been accused or charged with child abuse or neglect? Typically, this happens after someone suspects abuse or neglect and reports the abuse to the Department of Children Services or file a petition with the court as a private party.
After a parent has been reported to the Department of Children Services, an investigation by Social Services will begin. An emergency response worker from Social Services will go to the parent’s home to determine whether the child is living in an unsafe environment. If it is determined that the child is not safe with the parent, your child will be removed from the parent’s custody immediately. If Social Services does not determine that there is an immediate need for removal but believes that a petition should be filed with the court, the court process will move forward similar to a private party’s petition.
We are Experienced Family Lawyers in Tennessee – we can help!
Do you want to lose custody of your child for the rest of your life? How would you feel if your child was taken away from you and forced to live in a foster home? That is what’s at stake in a child dependency case in Tennessee. If you are involved in a child dependency case and you are not prepared to handle it the right way, you could lose your child forever. That is why you should seek the help of an experienced child dependency lawyer immediately.
In Tennessee, the child dependency court exists to protect children from abuse or neglect in their homes. If you suspect that a child is being abused or neglected by their caregiver, and would like to seek guardianship of the minor child involved, you should seek the help of an experienced child dependency and neglect lawyer to ensure that the child is removed from the toxic environment and is not placed in a foster home. It would be beneficial for you to hire an attorney as the parents of the child will receive a court-appointed attorney at their first court date to represent their interests.
How does a child dependency case start?
The process begins when a parent is accused of abusing or neglecting a child. Typically, this happens after someone suspects abuse or neglect and reports the abuse to the Department of Children Services or file a petition with the court as a private party.
The Preliminary Hearing
This is typically the first court date after the petition is filed. At this hearing, the court will determine who the child will live with until the trial. At this court date, the court will also appoint an attorney to represent the parent involved in the case and a Guardian Ad Litem to act in the best interests of the child.
The Adjudicatory Hearing
At the trial, the Judge will decide if your child has been abused or neglected. The petitioner must prove by clear and convincing evidence that the allegations which were alleged in the petition are true. After the Judge listens to both sides, the Judge will then determine whether the child is dependent and neglected.
The Dispositional Hearing
At the disposition hearing, the court will review all of the evidence related to your case and make a plan regarding the custody of your child. This is called the permanency plan.
After the court reviews the evidence, the judge can decide to:
- Release the child to your custody with the requirement that a social worker monitor and supervise you and your child going forward
- Order that the child stays with a relative or close friend
- Order that the child stays in a foster home
- Order that you participate in counseling or parenting programs (this may also be part of the reunification plan)
- Make decisions as to when you are allowed to visit your child
There are many different options the court has when it comes to your visitation rights with your child. The court will lay out specific programs and requirements that you must complete to be reunited with your child in the reunification plan.
The goal of the reunification plan is to protect your child and help you correct the behavior that led to the child dependency case.
Contact A Tennessee Department of Children Services Defense Attorney For Help
Our lawyers help people and families with DCS cases throughout Tennessee, we will help you find the truth among the allegations. We are committed to helping children grow up in healthy situations and environments, preferably with their parents.