What to do when CPS ask for a drug test in Harris County Texas

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Normally child protective services will ask for a drug test when another has called in and stated that you are using illegal drugs.  Sometimes it may happen after and arrest is made which may be a drug related offense. The drug test that is performed is typically a swab or urine test.  If you test positive, they will ask that you sign a safety plan that places your children with another friend or relative.  If you refuse, they will likely, but not always file a suit and state the basis to remove the child is negligent supervision.  The elements of negligent supervision are:

Placing the child in or failing to remove a child from a situation that a reasonable person would realize:

  1. requires judgment or actions beyond the child’s level of maturity, physical condition, or mental abilities; and
  2. that results in bodily injury or a substantial risk of immediate harm to the child;
  3. placing a child in or failing to remove the child from a situation in which the child would be exposed to a substantial risk of sexual conduct harmful to the child; or
  4. placing a child in or failing to remove the child from a situation in which the child would be exposed to sexual abuse committed against another child.

In reading these elements, you may ask yourself, what is the risk of immediate harm to my child under 1 & 2? The other elements involve sex with a child.  Drug users may be having sex with their children, but most cases, it is drug use alone, which is the cause of removal.  Many drug users are typically in a state constant denial as to a drug problem.  At the same time, you have to look at public opinion and the growing decriminalization of drugs.

Harris County Family Courts Drug Policy

The drug policy, in practice, is zero tolerance.  Thus, if you test positive, and refuse to sign the safety plan, you can bet on a lawsuit to remove for your children for a year.  Bottom line, use drugs, your children are going to be raised by someone other than you, in almost every region of Texas, but maybe Austin.  There are various cleaners and de-tox potions, shampoos ect, on the market.  The people who drug test you, will always tell you that none of these items work.  I have found that most do work for urine, swap, and hair, but never for a finger nail test.  I have never seen a finger nail test done by Child Protective Services in the Harris County region. I do not do illegal drugs personally, I have only my clients as a reference.  I do not have a referral to a specific vendor or website.  Do your own due diligence.   As a lawyer, I do not believe that the use of drugs alone should be enough to remove children from their parents, I am actively looking for a case, in which I can test the waters with the courts of appeals in the above elements.  What you will find is that most parents who care about their children will stop using drugs, long enough to pass the drug screen and the case would be dismissed before a court of appeals can render an opinion.  Those  who keep using drugs, typically are not working, do not have a means to provide for their children, and have other criminal offenses and convictions.  This results in drug use, being part of an overall pattern of not being a responsible adult, thus giving Child Protective Services standing to keep your children.  When they come calling, get a detox or cleaner, attempt to drug test yourself at a center other than National Screening Center on Fannin.  If you pass, then submit to the test, you can put them off for maybe 3 to 4 weeks, they will usually not let up until they get their drug test.  My experience is that it takes at least 1 week of detox to pass a drug screen and get the results back.


Michael Busby Jr. is a divorce & family law attorney,  who practices in Harris and Fort Bend Counties, Texas. He has been in practice for over 14 years and has tried over 300 cases.  He is familiar with the policy and procedures of the Harris and Fort Bend County Texas family law courts.   Our office is open until 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for working folks. Michael Busby Jr. 2909 Hillcroft Suite 350 Houston, Texas 77057 (713) 974-1151 Visit me on the web at www.busby-lee.com

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