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What To Do If DSS Takes Your Children

If DSS takes your children, then they have already obtained an emergency Order from the Court and made allegations to the court that the children are abused, dependent or neglected and the court has issued temporary orders granting custody to the State.  One of your first calls should be to an attorney.  You should inquire to DSS/CHFS as to (1) where your child will be placed; (2) are there criminal charges pending, or juvenile, or both; (3) when is your next court date, time and location. You should be weary to meet with any police officer, investigator or police agency. without an attorney.  You should meet with the social worker who is handling your case or investigating your case.  This social worker's primary job is first to investigate, then the goal should be to work toward reunification.  During the meeting, you are not required to admit to anything or give information which may be against your interest.  You should pay attention to (1) the goals of DSS and (2) the plan toward reunification.  If possible, it is generally best to work with them toward reunification as this is often the fastest and most efficient way toward having the children returned.  AGAIN, each case is different and an experienced attorney can help guide you through this process - advising what should and may not be required. If you cannot retain an attorney prior to the first court date, one will be appointed for you when you arrive in court.  An attorney can help protect your rights and those of your children.  In juvenile court, there will be an attorney representing the Commonwealth, also know as the prosecutor.  There will also be an attorney appointed to represent each parent (whether absent or present) as well as the child.  The child's attorney is referred to as a GAL (Guardian Ad Litem). The first hearing is a probable cause hearing to determine if an emergency exists to keep the child(ren) away from the parent/guardian.  If so, the Cabinet and Court will first look to place the child(ren) with a relative. If no relatives are available or viable, the child(ren) will be placed into foster care. After the probable cause hearing, the court will schedule the matter for adjudication.  This hearing is to determine if there was an act of abuse, neglect or if the child(ren) are dependent.  You will have an opportunity to speak and present evidence at this hearing. If you are involved in any juvenile court case of abuse, dependency or neglect, you should have an attorney.  Like criminal law, a private attorney is often preferred to an appointed attorney. For consultation and advise in Northern Kentucky, call Michael Bouldin at 859-581-6453 or email at [email protected].  Call 581-MIKE.

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