Skip to main content

Can CPS use a positive drug screen as the primary reason to claim that I am "unable to parent due to Substance Abuse?

Mesa, AZ |

I live in Mesa, Arizona.

Of the original six allegations that were made to CPS two months ago, by my ex-wife, this is the only one that has not been shown to be untrue at the time CPS removed my adopted child from my custody and put him into foster care. Now I have to "accept services" for six months to get my child back. I adopted him as a single parent.

There is no evidence (or claim) that my child was neglected or abused in any way. Only that I "had used", and "tested positive". How can I get my child back? Shouldn't they have to prove that my child was abused, abandoned or neglected before deciding he is better off in foster care? My public defender just wants me to "wait it out".

+ Read More

Attorney answers 2


The answer to your question depends on several factors, many of which should not be discussed on a public forum. However, if you are not happy with the representation you are being provided, you do have the option to hire private counsel. There are many attorneys, myself included, who will work Dependency cases.

I would also like to add that it is imperative that you participate in all of the services that are offered to you by CPS, even if they seem to you to be unfair or unreasonable.



Can't afford to hire a private attorney since I lost my job when I informed my boss about my required "services". Also accepting them amounts to agreeing they were right in their decision to remove my child. I just believe that unless they can show my child was demonstrably adversely affected, there should be a way to have my 11 year old child returned home.

Sarah Janelle Michael

Sarah Janelle Michael


I have seen, on several occasions, CPS move to sever parental rights permanently for failure to participate in offered services. You have the right to deny that there is a Dependency and have a trial, which should have been explained to you by your appointed counsel.



That's what im doing. This is my grandson, that I adopted from foster care when his mother (my daughter's) rights were terminated in 2009. My child still has to spend months with another family until I prove I'm a fit parent. They have no evidence or indication my child was abused OR neglected IN ANY WAY. Yet I now have to PROVE I'm a good parent. Everyone seems afraid to hold CPS accountable to do what they claim to do: "keep children safely within their families"!


Arizona Courts take substance abuse seriously especially when a minor child is involved. The six month time frame comes from a specific statute which requires that you test clean for six months before you can have custody restored. You may however be entitled to supervised visitation with your child during this six month period but that will require the Court's permission.

Fair warning - if you show up at court to get visitation or custody, the Judge WILL ASK YOU how long it has been since you last used. If you testify falsely to this answer the Court will likely find out and it will only delay the process. Stop using, take a voluntary screen test at TASC, Take that clean result to the Court and ask for visitation.

Attorney is Licensed in Arizona, California, and Colorado only. The opinions and comments offered are in the nature of general business advice relating to generic questions that might be raised. The use of this site is not intended to form an attorney client relationship of any kind. The reader is advised that every situation is different and you should always consult in person with a licensed attorney for the particular jurisdiction in question when your legal rights may be effected.

Avvo child custody email series

Sign up to receive a 3-part series of useful information and advice about child custody law.

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer