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CPS Coaching includes all levels of agency contact, whether in home on a safety plan or facing TPR. We are dedicated to helping you to protect your parental rights and we will join your team to help you fight CPS for the return of your child. My clients are varied, some come from complicated histories, adverse family situations, while others have excellent support systems. Often there are real reasons that led to CPS getting involved, but even after significant progress CPS won't drop restrictions. Other times the parents are facing completely baseless allegations regarding their parental fitness. What all of my clients have in common is that they are fighting hard to get their children home. I specialize in the messy, the painful, and the hopeless, and I often enter cases when others have given up.
Coaching isn't therapy. I don't diagnose you and I don't "treat" you. Instead coaching is more like a case management advisor that knows the system inside and out, and I'm able to review your case, strategize with you and your attorney, and develop a concrete plan of action steps needed to move your case forward in a positive way that improves your case position. This is generally done by aggressively addressing allegations to resolve concerns, fighting for your rights and compliance with surrounding laws and policies, and meticulously documenting your progress to get positive facts into your case discovery.
Traditional coaching is designed to be very client-driven, and with the vast majority of my clients I've found that a combination of coaching and strategy consulting seems to work best. This combination is more collaborative, and focuses on strategic planning, goal setting, skill building, trouble-shooting, and time sensitive results... and I will always give you my honest opinion (but you get to decide what you do with it!). Broadly speaking, CPS coaching will take 3-6 months for the average client, but there are cases that move faster and others that take much longer.
When clients first contact me we do an initial consultation to make sure coaching is a good fit for their case. Following that they complete their intake paperwork, submit any documents they want me to review, and then we schedule the intake session in about a week.
During intake we discuss the case strengths and weaknesses, develop goals to aggressively resolve CPS concerns, get into compliance with the case/service plan, and create an action plan to address any outstanding obstacles that are holding the case back. Action plans often include things like finding new providers if you dislike your current providers, getting into certification courses, changing your tone and contact with the case worker, getting testing lined up to refute false claims the state is making about you, getting experts involved when needed, addressing any foster care safety concerns, and building out positive documentation.
During the early action stage we are cleaning up your side of the fence and making sure you're in full compliance, and that if your case gets looked into you won't be the problem. I am heavily documenting your progress, and by this point we will have likely decided that it would be beneficial for me to talk to you attorney and case worker. The purpose of talking to these other professionals is to make sure everyone is on the same page, or at least learn the position and boundaries of CPS if they aren't so we can tackle it. Early action phase usually last around 4-6 weeks.
This is the stage where we will develop a step up plan to increase your access to your child and decrease your restrictions, based on your continued case compliance and progress. We will write out a proposal, talk with your attorney, and submit a plan to the case worker. The plan will be measurable and specific, and generally have 4-6 steps to be successfully completed before the children are returned to your care.
During the progress stage we continue to work your case, plan document your progress, but we also begin to report outstanding issues of non-compliance within your case and may consider Ombudsman reports or similar. If CPS refuses to progress your case due to unjust restrictions this is when we'd look at having the attorney file a motion in court so the judge can hear about your progress and their resistance. This stage usually lasts 2-4 months.
During top of the mountain we can see an end in sight. My clients have been in compliance for awhile, they have completed most of their service plan or it is done, and hopefully some of the restrictions have been dropped and talks of return home are happening.
It is not uncommon to have case workers begin to double down or refuse to recognize the progress, and generally my clients will begin to panic and worry. In the vast majority of cases the position of the state is adversarial, and they see their job this way. It is our job to prove you are a loving, safe and fit parent., and we hold course because facts and documents are now in our favor. Cases almost always hit a big bump right before things improve, almost like they want to test you to determine your level of commitment and stability.
Do not panic, this is a normal growth phase- and as your coach and consultant I see this as a good thing when it happens. It means we are getting close, and if they attempt to block progress we will aggressively go to court and file complaints to get your access increased and your restrictions dropped. Courts love step up plans because they are measurable and specific, and documented proof of all your hard work and case compliance. This phase can move as quickly as 2 weeks or last as long as 2 months.
The hard part is now over and active steps in reunifying with your children are now happening. In this phase we maintain all of our efforts. Now we know exactly what is needed to get the kids in your care and CPS out of your life. About half of my parents are already doing a transition home with unsupervised overnights, for others we will transition to that during this stage. Now we don't rock the boat, we stay level headed and deal with issues as they come up. This stage usually lasts 1-2 months.
The kids are home, CPS is probably popping by and making you feel a little anxious and crazy. Hang tight, you've been through worse and survived, we just need to continue to demonstrate that the kids are safe, loved, and well cared for and that you are capable of dealing with issues as they come up. It is often helpful for me to talk with the case worker about a phase out plan, if they are having trouble letting go of your case. This is where they do a step down plan, reverse of what we did in the Progress Stage. This stage generally takes about 3 months (I know... but this stage is usually part of their policies and procedure, they probably aren't targeting you directly).
This stage ends with CPS out of your life and your children back in your care. Congratulations and good work!
Kathleen was a victim of domestic violence, but when she left her ex she lost her kids to CPS. Then CPS gave the kids to the abuser. Her children were removed from her care because they felt she wasn’t able to provide “stability.” We worked hard to develop a plan in coaching to address their concerns, and within a few months she proved herself to the court. Kathleen got her kids back!