Knoxville Child Abuse Lawyers
We Advocate for Children & Parents in Tennessee
At Held Law Firm, we know that anyone who thinks that a child has been abused, including your child’s relative, doctor, teacher, daycare staff, or even your neighbor, can make a report to the Department of Children’s Services’ hotline. On the other hand, some parents will make a report to gain an advantage in a child custody case. No matter who makes the report, the Department of Children’s Services (DCS) will investigate and potentially remove your children from your home.
Whether you are worried about a child you know or a parent facing child abuse allegations, nothing is more important than that child. Held Law Firm has over 50 years of combined experience in child abuse cases. Our firm is passionate about protecting the rights of children and the people who love them.
DCS Lawyers in Tennessee
If you be reported for abuse, the Tennessee’s Department of Children’s Services (DCS) will investigate. The investigation may include:
- Medical or forensic exam of the child, especially if the allegation is for child sexual abuse or physical abuse.
- Separate interviews with the child, parents, and any witnesses. Often the investigator will interview the child at each parent’s home or at the school or detail.
If a parent refuses to cooperate, a DCS worker will likely petition the court to remove the child from your home. If the parent cooperates, DCS may draft an “immediate protection agreement” for the parent to sign, where the parent promises to do or refrain from doing certain things in exchange for DCS leaving the child in the home. Alternatively, DCS may determine that no less drastic measure will protect that child than removal. In that circumstance, DCS will petition the court to remove the child.
Once DCS removes a child, DCS must “place” the child in a foster home. DCS must give a preference to the other parent if the parties are separated. If DCS decides that parent is not available and appropriate, then DCS should place the child with a relative. Only if no relative is available and appropriate should DCS place the child in a foster home.
Unfortunately, when DCS removes a child, things happen fast. Often, DCS does not immediately find the available and appropriate other parent or relative. Sometimes, a parent who has a child removed bad mouths a family member out of anger. When these things happen, the child typically goes to a “neutral” foster care home – i.e. to a stranger. In those circumstances, family members have an extremely difficult time getting the child moved from the stranger’s home to their home. They will need an aggressive attorney to get that child back.
Once a child is removed, the law requires DCS to draft a “permanency plan” within 30 days, describing specifically what a parent must do to regain custody and what DCS is doing to make sure the child’s needs are met while s/he is in foster care. Almost always, the permanency plan will require a parent to maintain stable housing, transportation, and stable income, as well as additional requirements intended to address why the child came into foster care, such as treatment for drugs, mental health issues, or removing a parent who is guilty of domestic violence from the home permanently. If the parent fails to follow this plan, a judge may terminate parental rights and make the child available for adoption.
Held Law Firm Can Help
When it comes to children, everything is on the line. These matters are complex, emotionally charged and highly personal. Your attorney should make a complete review of the proof, especially if you are the target of false or mistaken accusations. If there is at least some truth to the accusations, Held Law Firm will support and guide you on what steps to take to get your children back as quickly as possible.
Learn more about how we can help you by contacting us at (865) 685-4780 today.
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