What Happens If DSS Takes Your Children?

DSS may come into your life for multiple reasons.  Sometimes it is for a good reason and sometimes it is completely frivolous.  When it comes to having your children removed from by DSS it can be a very distressing situation.  Regardless of the reason for the removal of your children the Family Court must hold a probable cause hearing within 72 hours to determine if DSS had probable cause or a good enough reason to remove your children.

At this hearing, DSS generally has the upper hand.  In almost all cases, defendants are not represented by an attorney at this hearing and they have no idea why they are in court, what has happened to their children and what they have to do to get their children back.  At the probable cause hearing, DSS will call witnesses and attempt to prove their case while you will not be allowed to testify.  You will have an opportunity cross-examine the DSS witnesses and you will be able to submit affidavits to the court supporting your situation.

If you are unrepresented at this hearing and are unable to afford an attorney to represent you, the family court will appoint an attorney to represent you.  This is great, except that not all attorneys that are on the appointment list handle family court and DSS matters.  You may get an attorney who makes it his goal in life to stay away from a court room.  A guardian ad litem will also be appointed to represent your children and to perform an investigation for the Court with their mind set on determining what is in the best interest of the children.

I would recommend that if your children have been taken from you by DSS you should immediately contact an attorney who is experienced in representing people in DSS matters.  There are strict time lines and regulations that DSS must comply with and if they don’t it can help your case.  Only an experienced professional will know these things.  You should not go to a probable cause hearing unrepresented if you can help it.


  1. My daughter, lost her children 2 year’s ago, 2011. Our family member’ have not seen her in 9 plus year’s. ( my daughter) We found her in Oct, 2013, and found this all out. I filed with our state and the state of Ohio, as soon as I got home. We went through DCF, here in our state and were approved for getting these 2 little babies, there is a closing case case, coming up when, these children are going to be placed within 10 day’s. The state of Ohio will not tell me anything, such as if I should be at the court case, or if I am even going to get these babies. The social worker’s from state to state are playing phone tag, so I have no answer’s from my worker. ( She to is getting frustrated.) I Have e-mailed and called the social worker 4 time’s this week and no response. By law aren’t the state’s supposed to try find family member’s once the children are placed in state’s custody? I am wondering, as a grandparent do I have a law suit against the state of Ohio? I hate for our family members to loose these babies, because of the lack of a social worker not getting back round information from the mother, and doing further investigation on family member’s. My daughter got in a terrible car wreck right before Christmas 2014, I drove out there asap, I met my grandson’s and fell in love. Please help.

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  4. I jus realized there wasn’t a court hearing in 72 hours. What happens in this case?

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  6. nova martin says:

    I need the best atturney in greenville sc.I have to get my child back asap

  7. i have a question.my mother lose her rights by the courts in 2008 to my siblings(my two brothers)now she want to trying to get them back but i been having them for almost three years.she has never helped me or anything.will she be able to get them back?

    • Tripp Atkins says:

      Thanks for your question. The answer is, “it depends.” Primarily, it depends on how the 2008 order was written. If her parental rights were terminated by the 2008 order then she has no rights to try to seek custody of your siblings. If her custody was just suspended and her parental rights were not terminated then she could still seek custody. In that case, the court would have to determine if she has met all of the requirements of the 2008 order and would ensure that her having custody would be in the best interest of the minor children. I don’t necessarily have enough information to answer your question about whether she would be successful, but would be happy to schedule a consultation with you to discuss it if you would like to do that.

  8. Candice Johnson says:

    I am in a horrible situation. I need help FAST. My only child was taken Feb 9th of this year. It was due to Domestic Violence and Marijuana use by her father. He is now in jail with no bail to post. I have a protective order in place for a year agenst him. I am fighting everyday for me to get my daughter back and DSS is the worst people I have ever dealt with. I have expressed with everything inside of me that I DO NOT WANT my family to get her (her grandparents). They are not good people and I have had no contact with them in years. DSS went behind my back and contacted them anyway and the last court section they showed up unannounced to me at court and stood up saying they are willing to take my daughter. My childhood was awful and I expressed that to them soooo many times. I was just told an hour ago they are giving my daughter to them sometime this week. I begged them to not do this and they said that is what the father wants (the one who is in jail mind you). I NEED TO STOP THIS!!!! please someone help.

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