It can be a nightmare for any family if Child Protective Services (CPS) comes knocking on your door. The purpose of CPS is to protect children from abuse and neglect at the hands of family members and other caretakers. CPS can be called by any person that believes a child is in danger at the hands of their caretakers and need protection. When a call is received, it is up to Child Protective Services to investigate the claim and determine whether there is an immediate need to remove the child from their situation.
Since any person can make a call to CPS, it can come from former spouses to get custody, teachers who see marks and bruises, or the child themselves after being punished. A call can be made because of physical evidence, speculations, or even in retaliation. The person who reported the abuse will remain confidential.
When CPS Shows Up Outside Your Home
When Child Protective Services comes to any home, their goal is to look for any evidence of child abuse or neglect. They assume the worst and will likely be treating parents as though they are guilty. While it may be easy for you to strongly react to the accusations being leveled against you, dealing with CPS is extremely serious and every action must be taken to show that there is no need for investigation.
When CPS shows up at your house, you should:
- Remain absolutely calm
- Take any accusations seriously
- Ask for the details and specifics of the accusation
- Say as little as possible to avoid accidental incrimination
- Remain polite to investigators
- Never allow an investigator inside without a warrant
- Require that all conversations with the child be recorded
- Keep documentation yourself of the visit details
- Never admit guilt to any accusation made
- Hire an attorney to defend you
The most important thing to keep in mind is that everything you say and do will be evidence to be used against you in court. If you overreact to the presence of a CPS representative, they may claim that you are angry and violent, meaning that children should not be in your care. Approach everything reasonably and with caution the entire time you are being investigated.
Hiring an attorney is an important part of a CPS investigation. You want to make sure that your rights are being protected during this investigation and that someone is representing your side from these allegations. Our firm has years of experience in complex family law cases such as this, and can help ensure that you do not lose your children to Child Protective Services.