Parents accused by Pennsylvania’s Children and Youth Agency of neglect or abuse could have their children taken away. For most parents, this is their worst nightmare. If you are being investigated by CYS, we can help you defend yourself, assert your parental rights and fight for your kids’ best interests.
Attorney Michael Shotto Jr., is a former dependency master who now defends parents in children and youth hearings. He will explain your next steps if your children have been removed from your home.
There are four levels of action CPS can take against a parent:
If your children are not returned home after a Shelter Care Hearing, the Agency will move for Dependency. This process can last 6 months or more.
ASFA TIMELINES/Termination of Parental Rights and Adoption: Under the current law, if you are not successful in having your children returned to you within 12 consecutive months, or if the children have been removed for 18 of the previous 22 months, the Agency can move to terminate your parental rights. This would free your children for adoption by the Foster Family. This cannot be un-done. This is permanent. Your compliance, along with competent and effective representation is necessary to ensure that your children do come home.
Remember, CPS agents have heavy caseloads and sometimes make mistakes. They may accuse a parent of things that the facts do not support. In other cases, protocols that require mandatory reporting to CPS do not make sense in every context.
Finally, applying child welfare laws to the real world can be highly subjective. Our attorneys know the law thoroughly and can tell when CPS’s actions were not warranted. We will argue before the court why your family should be kept together.