CPS/Child Abuse

A Serious Topic We Can Assist With

Child abuse allegations can grow from a suspicion alone. We represent parents and family members accused of physically or sexually abusing a child.

After someone has made accusations of child abuse, the next step may be a CPS (Child Protective Services) investigation. That investigation may lead to a police investigation, criminal charges, and/or removal of the child from the parent(s) until the court holds a “72-hour hearing.” Often, we are protecting our clients in multiple arenas from multiple players: a CPS investigation, a dependency action in juvenile court, and a criminal charge or investigation.

Child Abuse Allegations Can Grow From a Suspicion Alone

A lawful disciplinary event, or even an accident, can be viewed as child abuse or neglect. However, a reasonable amount of force is permitted to discipline a child, and accidents are accidents. Bumps, bruises, and “suspicious” marks can often be misinterpreted as excessive force. 

Allegations of child abuse can then be raised, CPS investigation starts rolling, your child is removed in a blink of an eye, and criminal charges may loom. A CPS investigation may be incomplete and yet result in a letter of “founded” for abuse or neglect.

More complex is when a child’s illness or medical condition is mistaken for abuse. With infants and toddlers, the sad truth is that false accusations of child abuse often start in a doctor’s examining room or hospital emergency room in western Washington. The child abuse doctors at Seattle Children’s Hospital and Mary Bridge Hospital are often the starting points for child abuse allegations.

They may diagnose “concerning for abuse” with incomplete medical information, no information about the family, and sometimes without even seeing the child! It’s a nightmare scenario for every parent. All they wanted was medical care for their child. Instead, they face the risk of seeing them taken away by CPS.

Mysterious bruises, marks, or other medical injuries that were unknown to parents are often too medically complex for a parent to explain. But a lack of explanation can look suspicious to child abuse doctors and child abuse investigators. Even a parent’s common emotions become suspicious to the accusers. Hospital social workers are often quick to call CPS and law enforcement.

Allegations of Sexual Abuse of a Minor

Sexual abuse allegations also take root quite easily. The alleged victim may be an emotionally troubled teen who looks for attention or a very young child who is influenced during a custody dispute. As with physical abuse, a suspicion can trigger multiple layers of investigation and restricted access to the child. 

When CPS receives a referral for abuse, CPS may have a FTDM (family team decision meeting) or may jump straight to launching ‘dependency’ hearings or sudden shelter care hearings. Parents face a long, painful battle to get their children back. And, criminal charges can run parallel to the dependency proceeding. Suddenly, a parent is in a posture where they feel they must prove their innocence.

In all instances of child abuse investigated by police, the police are required to send the investigation to the prosecutor, who will then review the case to determine if charges should be filed. There is a window in time between the police investigation and the prosecutor’s decision to file or not file charges. 

This is the window in time where a parent is wise to have a child abuse attorney step in. As experienced child abuse defense attorneys in Seattle, we know the legal steps to take to work a child abuse case and keep families together.

We have helped mothers, fathers, grandparents and guardians successfully defend themselves against child abuse allegations, both physical child abuse and child sex offenses. We’ve experienced firsthand what situations can cause false claims and how to prevent them from developing into charges. If charges are raised, we will launch our own investigations to uncover the evidence that will disprove the accusation. If you’ve made a mistake during the pressures of parenting, we can address that, too, to help you to get the system focused on reunifying your family and not punishing you.

We Have Successfully Defended Parents Accused of the Most Serious Allegations of Child Abuse

We have successfully defended mothers and fathers accused of “inflicted trauma,” “nonaccidental trauma,” “Munchausen’s,” and sex abuse based solely on suspicions. As experienced child abuse attorneys, we have handled the highest stakes and most complex child abuse allegations. We know the courts, prosecutors, and judges and what steps to take to keep your family together and your reputation intact. 

Whether you are facing a dependency proceeding in juvenile court, a CPS investigation, or criminal charges, you need multiple layers of protection—some that you aren’t even aware of. There are pitfalls and traps to avoid, and we make sure you know them and avoid them. Contact us now to protect your family and get false charges of child abuse dismissed.