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Child Protective Services is at my door - what should I do?

In Georgia, Child Protective Services is a division of the Department of Family and Children Services ("DFCS"). If Child Protective Services contacts you, or you learn that they have been speaking to your children at school, you should consult with an attorney immediately.

If there are any allegations of physical or sexual abuse, any statements given to DFCS could ultimately be used against you later in a criminal action. If there are any allegations of abuse, you should not speak with DFCS or anyone else about the situation without consulting an attorney first.

The juvenile court system is involved in cases in which DFCS is asking the court to remove your children from your home on a temporary basis. You should ALWAYS have an attorney in these cases. If you cannot afford an attorney, the court must appoint one to represent you. If the court finds that your children are neglected or there is any sort of abuse, you will be asked to work on a case plan that is developed by DFCS. Very often DFCS will put things in case plans that are there because that's "how they always do it." Be sure to have your attorney review the case plan to make sure it addresses ONLY those issues identified by the court. If DFCS is adding in things that seem to be unnecessary because they don't apply to any issues complained of as to your parenting, your attorney should file an object to those parts of your case plan.

Although some people think of juvenile court as "kiddie court," it is every bit as serious as the other courts of this state. The possibility that you could lose custody of your children is very real, and you should always have an attorney to protect your rights.

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