Understanding the Types of CPS Cases in Texas

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), sometimes known as Child Protective Services (CPS), handles a variety of cases involving child abuse and neglect.

If you are facing any of the types of CPS cases, allegations of abuse or neglect, your CPS defense will more than likely be focused on one or more of these types of cases.

The Texas Family Code § 261.001 defines the types of abuse and neglect cases handled by the DFPS, and these include:

Physical Abuse CPS Case

Under Texas Family Code § 261.001(1), physical abuse is defined as:

  • An injury that threatens or causes substantial harm to the child, excluding accidents and reasonable parental discipline
  • Failing to take reasonable action to prevent another person from causing physical injury and substantial harm to the child
  • Using a controlled substance in such a way that it results in physical injury to the child
  • “Causing, expressly permitting or encouraging a child” to use a controlled substance

Emotional Abuse CPS Case

Emotional abuse can be more difficult to prove, but Texas Family Code § 261.001(1) defines this type of abuse as:

  • Emotional or mental harm to a child that impairs the child’s growth and/or development
  • Causing or allowing the child to be in a situation that causes continued mental or emotional injury that impairs the child’s growth, psychological functioning or development
  • Using a controlled substance in such a way that it causes emotional or mental injury to the child

Sexual Abuse CPS Case

Under Texas Family Code § 261.001(1), sexual abuse is defined as:

  • Sexual conduct that is harmful to the child’s physical, mental, and emotional welfare
  • Failing to make a reasonable effort to prevent the sexual conduct that is harming the child
  • Encouraging or coercing the child to engage in sexual conduct
  • “Causing, permitting, encouraging, engaging in, or allowing” the filming, photographing or depicting of the child knowing that the media is defined as “obscene”
  • “Causing, permitting, encouraging, engaging in, or allowing” a child to engage in a sexual performance

Medical Neglect CPS Case

Texas Family Code § 261.001(4) defines medical neglect as failure to “seek, obtain or follow through with” a child’s medical care, and that failure resulted in:

  • “Substantial risk” of injury, disfigurement or death, OR
  • “Observable and material impairment” of the child’s development, growth or functioning

Texas CPS will consider whether the parent has a history or pattern of failing or refusing to seek medical care for the child as well as the severity of the condition, whether the child is in pain due to lack of medical care, and the potential impact of not obtaining care.

Parents or guardians may not be considered negligent if the failure to obtain care with a specific treatment is because of legitimate religious beliefs.

 Abandonment CPS Case

Texas law defines abandonment as leaving a child in a situation that would expose him/her to a risk of mental or physical harm, without making arrangements for the child’s care and without intention to return for the child.

Physical Neglect CPS Case

In a CPS physical neglect case, there are allegations or evidence of failure to provide the child with basic necessities, such as shelter, food, and clothing. This excludes the inability to provide these necessities due to financial inability unless the parent or guardian has refused relief services that were offered.

Signs of physical neglect can include but are not limited to:

  • Faulty heating, cooling or ventilation systems
  • Contaminated water or faulty plumbing systems
  • Decaying walls, stairways, ceilings or floors
  • Fecal contamination
  • Broken windows or shards of glass throughout the home
  • Ineffective waste disposal
  • Dangerous sleeping arrangements
  • Untreated infestations of roaches, fleas, or rodents
  • Uncontrolled mold or mildew

Neglectful Supervision CPS Case

Under Texas Family Code, neglectful supervision occurs when a child is placed in or not removed from:

  • A situation that a reasonable person would realize is beyond a child’s physical, mental, and maturity level, and that situation resulted in injury or a significant risk of harm.
  • A situation where the child would be at risk of exposure to sexual conduct.
  • A situation in which the child is “exposed to acts or omissions” that are considered abuse under the Texas Family Code § 261.001(1)(E), (F), (G), (H), or (K).
  • Accidents are generally not considered neglectful supervision.

Domestic violence occurring between spouses within the presence or hearing of the child can also be considered neglectful supervision by a parent. 

Your Best Interest in Mind With CPS Defense. Hiring An Attorney For Your CPS Case.

Allegations of child abuse or neglect are very serious, and DFPS cases can result in the child being removed from the home. It’s important to seek legal counsel if you are facing child abuse allegations. An experienced attorney can help build your CPS defense and achieve the best possible outcome in your case.

We have skilled Family Law Attorneys who are here to help with your CPS Defense. Contact us to get your free consultation and let us help fight for you.

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Ken Bigham Jr. has nearly three decades of experience navigating the law to protect his clients from unfair treatment by insurance companies, the government and corporations. He believes that Bigham Law’s purpose is to provide outstanding value to its clients and compassionate service to its community. 


Ken is an aggressive, extremely experienced lawyer that fights for your rights and negotiates strong and fair settlements for his clients. I highly recommend him and his team

S.O 2020

Family Law, Google Review | Bastrop

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