What steps need to be taken if Child Protective Services is investigating you?
An accusation of abusing or neglecting one’s child or children is upsetting for any parent, but even more so when the accusation comes from the government itself and the parents are threatened with having their children taken away by Child Protective Services. In case your family is being investigated by Child Protective Services, there are steps you can take to protect your family from being forcibly torn apart and your children being forced to live with strangers.
It is crucial that you take an accusation of abuse or neglect by CPS seriously, even if you know the accusations are false and no matter how absurd they sound. CPS officers will always assume an accused parent to be guilty until proven innocent. Not taking the accusation seriously will also look bad for you in court, and any perceived non seriousness on your part can and will be used as ammunition against your right to raise your own children in court.
Find out what charges are being pressed against you – By law, CPS workers are required to inform you of the accusations leveled against you on their first interaction with you. However, in a majority of cases, caseworkers prefer to withhold as much information from accused parents as they can. Legally defending yourself is harder when there isn’t a proper understanding of the charges raised against you. Therefore it is crucial that you demand as much information from the caseworkers as possible. Don’t accept neglect from the caseworkers because legally you have every right to this information.
Speak to your lawyer, ensure the lawyer has experience working with the CPS – CPS caseworkers will know how to use anything you say against you in court. Therefore don’t speak to them without your attorney present, even if you know that you are innocent. By refusing to submit to their interrogation, you are removing one of the CPS’s strongest weapons.
An attorney who is experienced working with CPS will be familiar with the tactics they use to incriminate accused parents. It has also been known that lawyers who have not previously competed with CPS can turn against the very clients they are hired to protect, so an attorney with a history of defending parents accused of abuse or neglect by CPS is your best bet.
Remain civil while interacting with CPS – While accusations of abusing your child will be upsetting for you, it is imperative that you remain calm in all your interactions. Any outbursts will be used by protective services to paint you as violent and unstable in court.
Don’t invite them into your home – CPS workers have no right to enter your home if they don’t have a court order. In the absence of a court order, the only way they can legally come onto your property is if you allow them into your home. If you do this, you have forfeited your fourth amendment rights
Take your child to a pediatrician – In case the accusations are of physical abuse, get your child checked by a pediatrician. The doctor will be able to write a report that states that there are no physical marks on the child’s body that show evidence of physical abuse. Go to a doctor of your own choice, rather than one recommended by the CPS.
Involve family and friends – Should the CPS declare you unfit to have custody of a child, involve friends and family that your child knows and trusts to be caretakers for your child. This can alleviate a lot of the trauma a situation like this brings about for the child.
Never admit guilt – In some cases, the CPS offers to return people’s children if they admit guilt to the charges raised against them. This is always a lie. Usually, an admission of guilt results in the children being taken away permanently and can even land you with jail time.
Rex Dwyer, Esq. has decades of experience and he focuses on all areas of family law issues and civil litigation. FREE initial consultation (972) 746-2805
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