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FamilyAttorney
FamilyAttorney, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 675
Experience:  Owner, attorney in private practice, licensed for 36 years as a trial and appellate attorney
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Can CPS interview my children without my presence. CPS wants

Customer Question

Can CPS interview my children without my presence. CPS wants me to bring my children to their office on Monday for a recorded interview with them. Do I have the right to be there and refuse for them to be interviewed without me being there? My children are scared and want me there.
JA: OK. The Lawyer will need to help you with this. Because laws vary from state to state, could you tell me what state is this in?
Customer: New York
JA: Have you consulted a lawyer yet?
Customer: Not yet
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Lawyer should know?
Customer: A report was sent to CPS as a result from a domestic violence case. A call was made from a neighbor, the sheriff came. I told them everything was fine, the kids were fine. Just a mainly verbal altercation between my boyfriend and I. we have 1 child in common. and i have 3 from a previous marriage. I declined an order of protection. my boyfriend was arrested for assault and released a couple of hours later with an active full stay away order of protection until the next court date which is on the 14th. None of this was asked for.
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Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 6 months ago.

Hello. I’m a licensed NY attorney with 36 years’ experience. My practice is limited to family law and appeals, but I have many years’ experience with landlord-tenant issues, contract law, and other types of law. I also have written hundreds of legal articles. I look forward to helping you today.

Please note:This is general information and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an attorney on this site.

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Customer: replied 6 months ago.
i can rate you
Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 6 months ago.

Thank you so much.

With NY CPS, they do pretty much what they want because they think they can. If they interview the children in your home, they must get your permission. If they interview the children away from the home, they often do this without parental knowledge. However, since you have knowledge of this, you can tell CPS that the children are frightened and that they want you to be there. CPS is intimidating and people don't know what rights they have. How old are your children, if I may ask?

Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 6 months ago.

They want to interview your children because if there is domestic violence IN THE CHILDREN'S PRESENCE OR WITHIN EARSHOT (such as they were in the next room), this can be a ground for removing the children or for giving custody to the other parent. So this is what they want from the kids -- that they heard it or saw it.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
9, 8, 8, and 2 months old. and in their facility? we have an appointment at 2:30 tomorrow. my children were playing outside. the baby was sleeping in her crib.
Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 6 months ago.

Right, I understand you. I'm just telling you that NY state law is tough on domestic violence. I'm a NY attorney and I do family law appeals. Case law shows that it is considered neglect if the kids were in the house, even if they were sleeping. If the others were outside, there was no harm to them but they would consider DV if the baby was there.

That being said, when did this happen? This is important for me to know, the fight that you had.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
saturday 5/28 around noon
Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 6 months ago.

They're concerned about the baby, believe it or not, because the baby was present.

You have rights and you need to know how to exercise them. First, never trust CPS. They're not your friend. CPS NY -- don't get me started. They're not usually that good and will do some really stupid things, in my experience. They will also try to take advance of you.

Okay thank you for that information. That's going to help you.

For example, if they claim something happened on 5/28 to your child but they don't interview you until 6/6, you should be telling these social workers that obviously no “imminent danger” exists or they would have acted on the report right away! If you don’t stand firm and point out their mistakes, they will walk all over you and violate their own laws in many different ways.

The CPS agents will want to talk to your children alone. Just say “NO”. Tell the agents that your child has the right to have an attorney present, and that if he/she insists on an interview then you and the attorney will be present and the interview will be recorded, preferably on videotape. Of course, if your child is attending a public school, you probably won’t get a chance to say “no”. What would happen is that the social worker would go to the school and, behind your back, get permission to talk with your children from the school employees. You can tell the school ahead of time (in writing) that you don’t permit such interviews, or anything other than basic education activities, however you cannot trust school employees to go by your wishes. It might help to ask your attorney to write a letter to the school forbidding interviews with CPS workers.

Also, your kids are very young, and it is understandable that they would want you to be present, so you can object to this because they will be frightened. You have the right to be there. Don't let CPS bully you, which they will. They want to know if the baby was present or if anyone of the other kids heard the fight.

Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 6 months ago.

If you can get an attorney, that would be advisable. In NY, if you cannot afford an attorney, make an application to the court to have one appointed for you. Especially if you are downstate, many courts will appoint lawyers in NY more than in other states.

Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 6 months ago.

You have rights against CPS. They are bullies and they will try to bully you. Having an attorney with you would be helpful. Also, since they waited so long to interview the kids, tell them you know there's no immediate danger, and THEY know there's no immediate danger because if there were, they would have been there right away or removed the children right away, and they didn't.

Does this answer your question? If you need more information, let me know as I’m happy to give it.

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Customer: replied 6 months ago.
would i have time to apply for an attorney with the court. this interview with the kids is on monday.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
can i say that the kids just simply want me to be there? without an attorney. would they allow me to be present?
Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 6 months ago.

You would have to call CPS and try to postpone it and ask for an attorney. Tell them you want your attorney present but you have to make an application for one. The next date is the 14th. If they are willing to wait, by all means make the application in court. However, be advised that they may try to go to the school to talk to the kids if you're not giving permission right away.

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If you stand firm, they should allow you to be present. Bring a tape recorder. Bring paper and pen to write stuff down. Don't tell the kids what to say!!! They will ask the kids if you told them what to say. You can ask them if they like your bf but be careful! Kids will repeat what you say. The less you say to them about CPS the better, honestly. It will backfire if you coach them. I'd say probably nothing to the kids about the situation if you trust them to say what happened, that they were outside.

Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 6 months ago.

I had another question today about someone wanting to sue CPS for violating their rights, and the answer is yes, CPS can be sued in Federal Court.

CPS NY tries to bully. They figure you don't know your rights so the best thing you can do is to learn what your rights are against CPS. A well-educated parent against CPS is the biggest threat to them.

Does this answer your question? If you need more information, let me know as I’m happy to give it.

Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 6 months ago.

Stand firm. Tell CPS the kids are young and afraid and that they want you there. If they don't allow it, tell them you will come back with your attorney.

Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 6 months ago.

Good luck and thank you in advance for rating me!

Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 6 months ago.

Hi, just checking in to see if you still need help with your question and if my answer was helpful for you. Thanks!

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