The First Thing You Should Do Is Contact an Attorney
Video Transcribed: What to do when DHS investigates you as the foster parent. Hi, I’m Tulsa Grandparents Rights Attorney, Justin Mosteller, and I’m going to spend a few minutes today talking to you about this topic.
Now, DHS investigations, whatever the contexts are stressful and scary, but when you are the foster parent, they are particularly frightening because you have so little control over the situation. Honestly, if DHS starts to investigate you as a foster parent then odds are they are immediately looking to remove and relocate the child to a different foster home.
So your options in that scenario are really limited. The first thing you should do is contact an attorney. If you don’t have an attorney, yet you should hire one right then and there.
You will want that attorney to be with you in any discussions with DHS, for many reasons but most importantly so that that attorney will be a firsthand witness to DHS’s issues and their investigative procedure and how they’re handling the case, and what their concerns might be.
This is important because if DHS does take the step to remove and relocate the foster child, you have the opportunity as a foster parent, if you’ve had the child for more than six months, to object to the removal and ask the court to set a hearing on the issue of whether it is needed.
At that hearing, you are given the opportunity to rebut DHS’s evidence and explain the situation in such a way that leaves you with the placement of the child, but it is a really serious issue and in all honesty, most of the time, the courts tend to follow with what DHS is telling them, so that’s why it’s really important to have an attorney there present with you.
The other bit of advice that I have for you in this situation, don’t try to lie to DHS. DHS will always find out what the truth is eventually, and you get more credibility if you tell the truth. Even if it’s difficult, if you tell the truth, you’ll be in a better position to deal with it than lying to them.
I know this from vast experience in these kinds of situations. I’ve represented a lot of foster parents in this type of situation and I can tell you that the cases where my clients were honest with DHS even if it hurts, ended much better than the cases where they obfuscated and tried to make excuses and got aggressive. Definitely don’t get aggressive with DHS. It will immediately turn them off on you and they’ll remember it.
Hopefully, this provides a little bit of advice if you’re in that situation. The main thing, contact an attorney. If you have any more questions, feel free to seek counsel from our office to speak with a Grandparents Rights Attorney in Tulsa, we’d be happy to help.