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Judge explains how child abuse investigations are handled

Posted at 11:44 PM, Jan 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-04 00:56:55-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The video that surfaced recently and led to the arrest of Marcus Reyna has put a spotlight on how child abuse investigations are handled.

Judge Timothy McCoy, Nueces County Court at Law No. 5, works on a lot of cases that deal with child abuse and neglect.

"Every case is different," McCoy said. "You never know what the outcome is going to be from start to finish, just depends on the case."

He wasn't able to speak about this specific case, but provides an overview of what the process typically looks like for a child-abuse case.

He explained that a referral is made to CPS, the Department of Family and Protective Services.

"From there, they investigate it," he said. "If they determine that there has been abuse or neglect, then there's a number of things they can do -- They can offer the family help, to try and improve their situation, they can also submit something to the court."

At that point a judge can order a family to participate in counseling, classes or other services.

"The way the law is set up in Texas is to help families and help them learn from their mistakes," McCoy said. "Fix the situation and have them be reunified with their kids. And that's because study after study shows that works."

But, of course, there are times when parental rights are terminated and children end up in the foster system.

"But it's a fair process, meaning the parents have an opportunity to better their situation for their children," McCoy said. "But the children always come first."

McCoy also says in some cases children may be placed with other family members to give the parents time to rehabilitate or get the help they need to get back on their feet.