DCS | CPS Lawyers in Arizona
If the Department of Child Safety (DCS, formerly called CPS, or Child Protective Services) has removed your children from your care, or they are threatening to do so, Moshier Law can help. We have over a decade of experience representing parents and relatives of children caught the trap of DCS. Arizona DCS is an aggressive agency with a terrifying history of taking children, then struggling to return them, or worse, willfully withholding them. Our firm has watched as DCS places children away from their family of origin, ignoring suggestions for placement with next of kin in favor of total strangers to these children. While we believe that DCS is likely to see a top-to-bottom readjustment in its approach and tactics, the last few years of its scorched earth tactics have left children completely severed from their families of origin. This is documented by recent investigative journalism reports:
DCS does not only affect the rights of the parents. The family members watching from the sidelines feel helpless as DCS carves a knife down one-half the family tree, severing every limb that could connect a child with family. If parents cannot have children returned home, we often assist aunts, uncles, grandparents, siblings, step-siblings. You name the type of family situation, and we have likely stood before a judge on adoption day smiling as we finally, finally overcame DCS’s strident, often unfounded objections. Remember: Ultimately, a judge has to decide, but you need a lawyer willing to help you navigate this path no family ever wants to travel.
Our firm has handled some of the toughest cases involving child dependency and termination of parental rights, as well as defending the rights and steering the interventions of grandparents and other family members. We have represented clients seeking to terminate rights of other parents, and clients seeking to adopt a child. We have also represented relatives of parents whose children are being taken away by DCS to keep those children with their family and out of foster homes.
Removal of children and termination of parental rights cases are handled by the juvenile courts in cases called “Dependency” cases. These cases feel like a criminal case. They follow their own set of rules – not like criminal court and not like family court. Moshier law has over a decade of experience in this unique area of law. Most family lawyers will not take these cases, but this is where we thrive. In one extreme case, we were even asked to help a parent reinstate their rights after termination. While not all cases may have this outcome, we were able to help that parent re-establish parental and custodial rights.
Typically DCS cases begin when there is a report of a problem in the home affecting the child. Even if the parents do not live together, a DCS report at one home can result in the removal of children from both homes. Once the children are in the system, it will be difficult to get them out. DCS cases move slowly, and it is up to the parent to prove a child is safe with the parent. DCS does not have to prove there is an ongoing problem to continue to keep your child away from you. DCS has a very low threshold to overcome. If you want your children back, you have to prove your case in a difficult and confusing area of law.
DCS has to provide “services” to parents before they can sever a parent’s rights. “Services” is a really important term, and you do not want to miss the chance to have an attorney work with you on the “services” issue. Failure to complete services can allow for the state to terminate parental rights – non-cooperation with the process is enough to lose your children. Knowing the laws and knowing how DCS operates requires expert guidance and skill. We have been in court, representing parents against the Department for a decade, and know what to expect and how to get children back home. We know all the major cases involving DCS and termination or reinstatement of rights. When it comes to DCS, you need excellent legal representation.
If you are in a Dependency, the state will provide you with an attorney. Your attorney has likely been assigned many, many other cases than your case. Consider hiring a private lawyer for the most important aspect of your life, your Constitutional right to raise your children. A private lawyer can apply resources to creative strategies and devote time to really understanding and developing your side of the case. We return telephone calls, we can send you text messages and put our direct attention on our cases. We can choose how many cases we take. There are some cases we do decline to work with, but we carefully consider each case. If you are a family member like a grandparent, aunt or uncle, you will not be assigned an attorney. Your case depends on the best legal representation you can afford. Moshier Law will be tenacious in advocating for your legal rights, every step of the way.
Getting investigated by the Department of Child Safety for presumed child neglect or abuse is something no parent wants to go through. The investigation can come from any reporting source – and the source will remain anonymous. It could be from the child’s school, a police report, a neighbor, or family member. If you are the subject of a DCS probe, do you need legal counsel? We cannot give you legal advice until you are our client, but generally speaking, there are three reasons why you should consult with an attorney at the earliest stage of the investigation:
- Everything You Say Can and Will Be Used Against You.
If you’re being wrongly accused of abusing your child(ren), it’s very easy to become frustrated and to lash out at social workers and investigators. Nevertheless, any obstruction of DCS workers, or angry words blurted out because you are frustrated, will only worsen your situation. A lawyer can help you know exactly what to say, when you can say it, and probably most important, what you shouldn’t say and when to keep quiet. We can give you some great examples of how social media has imploded legal strategies.
- A DCS Lawyer Knows the Law and How to Deal with Your Local Court System.
If the investigation of the suspected child abuse case causes temporary removal under a safety plan, or a parent having to leave the home, a knowledgeable DCS attorney will not only know the procedures that the agency is required to follow, but also the correct way to pursue the return of your children. An experienced attorney will also know the local court system inside and out. We can tell you what to expect from certain judges.
- You Need a DCS lawyer on Your Side to Fight for You.
DCS investigation, removal, and filing a Dependency is not only traumatic, it is also time consuming. You will be overwhelmed having to deal with Department investigators, engage with services, likely undergo drug testing, and be expected to understand what is in Court documents. DCS will give you a new full time job. As a parent, you need to concentrate on what you are asked to do, while you have someone looking out for your best interests and is in your corner fighting for you. Your lawyer will also be able to handle law-enforcement officers and other attorneys so that you don’t have to.
DCS investigations can be challenging, invasive, and possibly life changing. If you or your family find you are being investigated by DCS and need advice or help in stopping an intervention or removal, contact an experienced juvenile dependency law attorney today.
Fight DCS in Arizona with a Lawyer
Parent’s have a right to choose how to raise their children, within reasonable limits. The children have a right to be with their parents. Despite these rights, the Department of Child Safety can decide to remove the child with accusations of neglect or abuse. This removal can happen very fast, on the say-so of just one Department investigator. This infringement into the parent-child relationship is traumatic to both parents and children.
It could be that the claims are incorrect or should not rise to the level of the child(ren) being removed. If that is the case, they need an attorney that will go court and set the record straight for the children to be reunited. Or, if the accusations are correct or have some basis in fact, the parents require both representation in court, and counsel as to how to navigate the required services so that reunification can happen without delay. Even when parents have performed the requested services, the Department will slow the reunification process. This requires lawyers who are willing to bring the reunification to the judge and put the facts on trial. Whatever the circumstances are, when their children are taken from them, swift measures are needed.
Moshier Law has represented hundreds of families of every composition in Juvenile Court, battling DCS tirelessly to keep families intact and take the government out of their lives. Moshier Law is sympathetic toward special situations involving parents charged with a crime, domestic violence, and parents struggling with addiction. We do not believe you are guilty because DCS says you are. We know the importance of believing in your case. If this is – unfortunately – your situation, Moshier Law can be your advocate. We want to help our clients navigate an extremely difficult time, offer the legal advice most lawyers do not know to offer and fight for your rights.
Speak with Our DCS & CPS Lawyers Today
Our DCS Lawyers will advance your case with concern and personal attention and always have you and your children’s best interest in mind when offering legal solutions.
If your case is transferred out of the Juvenile Court, into the Family Court, our experienced family law attorneys will work with you to obtain the best possible outcome in your situation. We can represent you fully, so you can close this horrible chapter and move forward with your life. Give us a call today at 480-999-0800 for a free consultation.