Child Protective Services Matters – The PPO

Brandon WaltripDivorce & Child Custody

When CPS comes knocking on your door it can be a frightening and difficult circumstance. Imagine that someone you have never met has determined that you as a parent have neglected or abused your child? In many cases, regardless of whether facts have been proven in a court of law, a parent must be prepared to argue for their Constitutional right to keep custody of their children. Procedurally, it’s important to understand the rights you have at each stage of the court proceedings. In this article we review the Preliminary Protective Order.

Preliminary Protective Order (“PPO”). Initially the County/City or Other Government Agency may move for a PPO. A PPO will change the status a parent has with their children on a temporary and immediate basis. The decisions at a PPO hearing maybe temporary, however, a failure to object to a PPO can result in the inability to have a factual hearing on the basis of the underlying claim by the County/City. What results if there is no objection is an Adjudication with a minimal showing that any form of any abuse or neglect has occurred.

Many times the County/City will proceed at a PPO with only an affidavit signed by an investigator. This should be objected to, unless a parent wishes to turn the custody of their children over to CPS.

Importantly, not every PPO requests custody be taken from parents, however, in cases where the PPO does it is important to have an Adjudicated hearing on the facts. If the child is taken into custody of CPS this can result in the actual parents of the child being required to pay support, TANF, or other social services for a child they regularly support without soils services.

If you have been contacted by CPS on charges of Neglect or Abuse, hire an attorney who can defend your right by objecting to PPO hearings when appropriate.