How to Effectively Communicate with CPS and Protect Your Family

Child Protective Services (CPS) is a government agency that ensures the health, safety, and well-being of children in each state. When utilized correctly, CPS makes sure that children who are abused or abandoned have a safe place to stay and work to find appropriate guardianship. However, when CPS is misused, they have the power to ruin reputations and tear families apart. Even if your family is not under investigation by CPS, take the time to learn about your rights as a parent and how to handle their inquiries.

What Exactly Does CPS Do?

CPS functions as a government agency that investigates reports of child abuse or neglect and in their own words: “Helps prevent further harm to children from the intentional physical or mental injury, sexual abuse, exploitation or neglect by a person responsible for a child’s health or welfare.” They do this in a few different ways:

  • Investigate reports of abuse and neglect.
  • Assist families through support services like in-home counseling and providing public education about child abuse and neglect.
  • Petitioning for a court-ordered removal of a child or children from potentially unsafe situations.

Most people can agree that protecting children is an important part of society, but the justice system is not perfect. CPS is notoriously underfunded with overworked social workers with heavy caseloads who may not have the time or the resources to carefully investigate or provide the necessary services to actually help families in need.

Tips on Interacting With CPS:

If your family is under investigation, it can be one of the most stressful and traumatic events in your life. The last thing you want is to lose your child to the foster care system. One of the best ways to prevent this from happening to your children is by following these important tips:

Know Your Rights: First and foremost, while under investigation by CPS, you have the right to an attorney, and you absolutely must prioritize their involvement. One of your greatest tools as a parent is that you have a right to information. You also have the right to access any evidence used against you during the investigation.  You do not have to agree to everything you feel rushed to do, give up or concede.

Keep Extensive Records: Parents are often inundated with documents pertaining to their child on a daily basis from schools, doctors, or daycares. Hold on to this documentation. Keeping an extensive record of all interactions with adults involved in your child’s life including dates and times of your conversations can be helpful in court proceedings. 

Why Are We Under Investigation?

CPS launches investigations based on reports they receive from people within the community. A teacher, neighbor, coworker, or even a family member can make a report with CPS to claim that your child has been abused or is in an unsafe environment. Although you have a right to the information CPS has collected about you during the investigation, you do not have the right to the identity of the person who reported the alleged abuse or neglect. The accuser may believe that your children are experiencing domestic violence, substance abuse, neglect, physical abuse, or a general lack of supervision. 

If CPS begins to investigate such reports, there are different strategies and protections to put in place. This is done most effectively with counsel, rather than the emotions and desperation in the situation.

Cases involving CPS are not always due to malicious intent on the part of the person reporting your family, but the consequences of their actions could have a lifetime impact on you and your family. At Burke Brown Attorneys, we are committed to helping you during one of the most difficult times of your life. For a consultation, contact us online, or call (206) 933-2414 today.

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Burke Brown Attorneys, PLLC

The first step of our approach here at Burke Brown Attorneys, PLLC? Listening to you explain your legal situation. Our attorneys have nearly 40 years of combined experience in successfully defending people against the most serious accusations.

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