Advocates For Parents In Child Dependency (Abuse And Neglect) Hearings
It’s terrifying to be investigated for child abuse and heart-wrenching to have your kids taken away from you. Our attorneys at Anderson, Leech & Long have a lot of experience in this niche aspect of family law. They represent Pennsylvania parents who are fighting to keep their children or are working to get their kids back.
Our lawyers practice in juvenile dependency courts in Allegheny County and the surrounding jurisdictions of western Pennsylvania. Please reach out right away to put our legal team to work protecting your parental rights.
Can CPS Take My Kids?
Child Protective Services (CPS) is required to investigate if there has been report by a mandated reporter, such as a doctor, teacher, school nurse or religious leader, or if a credible report has been filed by a concerned neighbor or family member who knows the child. Not every complaint merits a formal investigation, and not every investigation results in child removal.
CPS can legally remove your child if it has a court order or if it has a reasonable belief that the child is in imminent danger because of physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect or abandonment, a parent’s drug abuse or psychotic behavior, or any other immediate endangerment.
Experienced Representation In Pennsylvania Dependency Court
The term “dependency” is a finding by the court that the parent(s) or guardians are unfit or unable to provide for the child’s well-being. Such a decision renders the child dependent on outside care by a relative or the foster care system.
It is important to contact an attorney immediately if either you are being investigated for child abuse or neglect or your child has been taken from you. Once a child is taken into custody and placed out of the home, a dependency hearing will usually be held within 72 hours. Our lawyers can help you fight the dependency petition, including challenging witnesses or introducing witnesses who can disprove the allegations.
If the judge or hearing officer determines that the child is dependent, then a disposition hearing will be scheduled to decide on the best long-term placement for the child. The court and the department of children and youth services will give you a list of requirements that you must meet before you can seek to regain custody of your children. For example, you may be required to submit to drug testing, enter substance abuse treatment, take parenting classes and prove that you can provide financially for the child. Our team can help you meet these milestones and take the right steps to show the court that you are fit to resume parenting.
Concerned About Losing Your Kids?
Contact our Pittsburgh law office today if you have been informed of a dependency petition or if your children have been removed by CPS. Our lawyers are not here to judge you; they are here to advocate for you in a scary and fast-moving process.