100+ Combined Years Serving Clarksville
Dependency and Neglect
The Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (DCS) is the agency charged with investigating reports of child neglect or abuse, as well as with administering key aspects of our state’s foster care and juvenile justice systems. A call or visit to your home as part of a DCS investigation is a matter you must take very seriously. Whether or not you believe you have ever been abusive or neglectful of your children, the risk of having them removed from your home is all too real. If the Department of Children’s Services or another agency has intervened with your family in a dependency or neglect matter, or if you are concerned that your parental rights are being threatened, seek legal guidance from an experienced attorney immediately.
The law firm of Patton & Pittman provides knowledgeable advice and representation to individuals and families in Tennessee, including those who have had children removed from their home or who face the threat of having their children taken from their custody.
An Overview of Dependency and Neglect Proceedings
Once the proceedings start, a DCS worker will perform an investigation and mandatory reporting. In cases where the child is in immediate danger, the child will be temporarily removed from the home. A temporary removal hearing will follow to determine if the child should be placed in the care of a relative or a foster family. A formal hearing will take place to determine the best course of action. Tennessee courts make every attempt to reunite the parent and child when appropriate, often ordering rehabilitative services or supervised visitation to protect the child but still preserve a parent-child relationship. However, if deemed unfit, the court may terminate your parental rights.
Empower Yourself with Strong Legal Representation
The Department of Children’s Services’ investigators may be making a presumption of guilt about you that could lead to removal of your children seeking to prove that you are an unfit parent. In those cases, while a court may appoint a lawyer for you, that lawyer may not have the time or aggressive skills to properly represent you.
If you are feeling threatened by DCS, our attorneys can empower you by helping you understand your legal rights and aggressively representing you in court. Having an experienced private attorney will ensure that your parental rights are protected and that the playing field is level.
If you are facing juvenile court proceedings, we can help. Contact our office to discuss your options during a free initial consultation. Call 931.647.5242 or reach our office online to schedule your consultation.