When accepting an appointment as an Attorney Ad Litem (AAL) for a child or youth, the Law Offices of A. G. Fortson, P.C/ listen to our clients. The Law Offices of A. G. Fortson, P.C. will spend time to get to know clients even if that means playing on the floor with a crawling infant or cheering at our client’s athletic games. When standing in court to represent the child or youth’s voice, the Law Offices of A. G. Fortson, P.C. will do so with legal competency and case knowledge.
Often people question if appointed attorneys will work as hard as hired attorneys. At the Law Offices of A. G. Fortson, P.C., our level of commitment is not compromised based upon who pays our clients’ invoice. Our clients’ voices matter and we insist that others hear their voice.
The Law Offices of A. G. Fortson, P.C. believes the U.S. Supreme Court well addressed parental rights in its landmark Santosky decision.
The fundamental liberty interest of natural parents in the care, custody, and management of their child does not evaporate simply because they have not been model parents or have lost temporary custody of their child to the State. Even when blood relationships are strained, parents retain a vital interest in preventing the irretrievable destruction of their family life.
Until the State proves parental unfitness, the child and his parents share a vital interest in preventing erroneous termination of their natural relationship.
– Santosky v. Kramer, 455 U.S. 745 (1982)
The Law Offices of A. G. Fortson, P.C. believes in general, families can be better parents than the State of Texas acting as a parent. Parents who are falsely accused or even parents who need support will find passionate representation at the Law Offices of A. G. Fortson, P.C. We are trained to work with families affected by addictions, co-occurring mental health issues, and CPS trauma.
A successful conclusion to a CPS case may include more than an Order for Non-Suit dismissing CPS from interacting with your family. You may want to have other family matters addressed for example, paternity rights, visitation, and child support. If the only affirmative pleadings on file are those filed by CPS, you may not be able to make your requests to the court. Our office will independently investigate your legal matter and file counter-petitions as necessary.
Instead of placing children into traditional foster care, appropriate family or fictive kin placements should be utilized. Even if kinship placements are not possible, kinship connections may still be appropriate. Children in care may benefit from having visits and support from their family and friends. Our office will intervene on behalf of relatives and fictive kin to ensure that family ties with affected children are maintained.
Do you know what you would do if CPS asks to interview your children or knocks on your door to talk to you? Be prepared for a serious interaction. Our office will fight for clients even before a legal petition has been filed in court. If you are presented with a Parent Child Safety Plan or if you are served with a citation for a CPS lawsuit, you are strongly encouraged to seek an attorney with CPS Defense experience.
The Law Offices of A. G. Fortson, P.C. doesn’t like to lose. If our clients have grounds to disagree with a decision, our office will not be afraid to appeal. Appeals in a suit in which termination of the parent-child relationship is in issue are considered accelerated appeals. A party has twenty (20) days to file its notice of appeal with the appellate court. Our office will respect the governing timeframes to preserve our clients’ right to appeal.
The Law Offices of A. G. Fortson, P.C. takes pride in being accessible to you throughout all phases of your Child Welfare case. Our ethical and dedicated service has led to our reputation in the community as an outstanding legal advocate for our clients. If a question or concern comes up, always feel free to stop in at our office or give us a call.
5 days a week: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
The Law Offices A. G. Fortson, P.C. represents parents facing allegations from agencies such as the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (TDFPS) and Houston Children’s Protective Services (CPS). The Law Offices of A. G. Fortson, P.C. also represent extended family members or friends who would like to intervene into the case to become conservators of the subject children should the biological parents rights be reduced or terminated. Should an agency approach your children or you to discuss an allegation, please contact an attorney.
If TDFPS seeks to terminate a parent’s rights, then the parent is entitles to the appointment of an attorney if one cannot be afforded….Seek the ATTORNEY appointment as soon as possible.
Attorneys appointed as counsel for children and parents are guided by the Texas Family Code (TFC). Sections of TFC 107 outline the definitions, responsibilities, and rights of the appointed counsel.
An allegation of abuse or neglect is a serious matter. Do not make false allegations just to get an edge in a custody battle or to seek retribution against someone. Not only is it illegal, false allegation wastes resources and cause unmerited trauma. However, if you believe a child, or person 65 years or older, or an adult with disabilities is being abused, neglected, or exploited, you have a legal and a moral obligation to make a report. Call the Department of at 1-800-252-5400 or use the website, www.TxAbuseHotline.org. The Texas Relay Service is available by dialing 7-1-1 or 1-800-735-2989 Voice or TTY. Tell the relay agent you need to call the Texas Abuse Hotline at 1-800-252-5400 . As always, call 911 or your local law enforcement agency if the situation is in emergency. A person who reports abuse in good faith is immune from civil or criminal liability. DFPS keeps the name of the person making the report confidential.