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Child Protective Services (CPS) Questions

What is Child Protective Services or CPS?

Child Protective Service (CPS) is a government agency in many states in the United States that responds to child abuse and child neglect issues. Some states may use different names such as “Department of Social Services” (DSS) or “Department of Children & Family Services” (DCFS).

Contrary to common perception, CPS is not set up to take children away from parents. They are simply there to protect the best interest of the child -- help prevent child abuse and neglect -- and to help the child live in a safe environment. Sometimes when CPS caseworkers come into a child’s home, the parents can feel intimidated and confused about the rights CPS has. Fear because they are unaware of their own rights, or even why the caseworkers are there can lead to legal questions. Understand your rights with respect to Child Protective Services. Below are answers provided by Experts on some of the commonly asked questions about CPS.

What are my rights if CPS is trying to enter my home to investigate?

A person has the right to refuse investigation in most cases. However, if a parent refuses, then the Child Protective Services can request that the court remove the children because of lack of cooperation. After that, the CPS would have 72 hours to find evidence on why the children should be removed from the home. If no evidence is found, then they must return the children. If the CPS is called as a result of referral then by law the caseworker is required to investigate all referrals for the protection of the children. If children are removed by the CPS, then the parent has the right to challenge the findings in a trial hearing.
 

What do CPS caseworkers look for when they visit a child’s home and what are the implications of refusing a drug test asked for by a CPS caseworker?

Normally, Child Protective Services will look around the house to make sure that the house is safe for the children that live there -— no drugs, no signs of abuse or neglect, etc. If parents do not have a history of drugs, appear to be free from drugs, and if the CPS caseworker finds the house safe, then the case may be dropped by the CPS.

However, if the CPS caseworkers ask a parent or parents to take a drug test and they refuse it, then the caseworker may have reason to suspect that the parent is under the influence of drugs and can legally take the children away from the home. If you are not sure what to do when dealing with the CPS, you could ask a Family Lawyer to evaluate your case and provide Expert legal insights.
 

Does CPS have the right to ask someone to take a hair follicle drug test if the person has already passed the oral and urine test?

Usually CPS can request that the parent take a hair follicle drug test to reassure that they are free from drug abuse. Typically the hair that they use for this kind of test comes from the top of the head. If the parent refuses to take a drug test, the child could be taken away from the home until CPS believes it is safe for the child to return. If the parent has nothing to hide, it’s often best to cooperate with child protective services and cause less stress to the child and the family.
 

In Texas, can CPS build a case without talking to both parties that are involved?

According to the law in Texas, the CPS caseworker may interview the parents. However, if there is proof of child abuse and/ or neglect, then no home visit or interview is deemed necessary. In such situations, CPS usually has the authority to just remove the children from the home. The CPS caseworker will need to investigate further to prepare a report for the judge. This report is to facilitate a court decision on whether the child needs to become a ‘protected child of the state’, and whether the parents should be charged. During this process the law requires that both the parents be notified by the caseworker, of all of the details about the hearing in their case.
 

Does CPS have the right to talk to a minor without the parent or legal guardian around?

Although the parent has the right to know what was discussed between the caseworker and the child, Child Protective Services also have the right to talk to a minor about their living situations. That is mainly why CPS often contacts the minor at school. The parent and the child have the right to refuse talking to the child protective services. When the parent or child refuses to talk, it can raise suspicion and make the caseworker raise more questions and investigate further.

Dealing with Child Protective Services can be a difficult and traumatic time. You may not understand what to do, or what your rights are when dealing with CPS. Although you may think you understand your rights, it is best to be absolutely sure about the legal implications of the decisions you take. A quick and easy way to do this is to ask a Family Lawyer.

Ask a Family Lawyer

Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 9160
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
7286322
Type Your Family Law Question Here...
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10 Family Lawyers are Online Now

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Recent Child Protective Services Questions

  • I had custody of my granddaughter through CPS and was the payee

    I had custody of my granddaughter through CPS and was the payee for the portion of ssi that was due to her through her mothers disability. The state returned her to her mother and she now is asking for the money she paid to child support from me. Can I deduct any of the time child protective services required me to take off from work from this amount, I had to take 14 days before she was old enough to go to daycare and several other days for medical evaluations due to her being addicted to heroin, court dates and she was hospitalized for 5 days for which I felt like I needed to be with her.
  • I have a situation where former tenants of mine out of revenge

    I have a situation where former tenants of mine out of revenge for not receiving their security deposit called Child Protective Services making an anonymous call making false allegations against me. My children are adopted and do not speak English fluently and are currently in a private school in Illinois. The children have been at this school for 2 years. I am in Arizona. CPS in AZ contacted me and I told them what I just told you. CPS in AZ called the private school confirmed that the children are there and have been and are safe and that there is no problem. Yesterday I found out from a third party that CPS in AZ is going to do a telephone interview with both of my sons today and the school is allowing this without having told me and without my consent. I had called the school and told them about the situation and to expect a call and expected it would end there but it hasn't. What are my rights? How do I protect myself and my children from being traumatized unnecessarily.
  • What type of charge or legal suit can a person bring against

    What type of charge or legal suit can a person bring against a son-in-law or daughter-in-law when they know that the son-in-law or daughter in law are doing harm to their granddaughter.
    Background: There is a divorce proceeding in process within our extended family. The couple in question are still living together with their one four year old daughter while the proceedings are taking place. It is clear that the process will take an extended amount of time. Sadly, one of the parents is now bringing the 4 year old daughter along with them into to a series of unhealthy situations including alcoholism; drugs; and romantic dates with another party. This has progressed into the 4 year old being out quite late; being sick; being totally confused with the new party and what role they play in their life;being sent home from school after late nights out,etc.
    Again, the question is,"What type of action or legal suit can a grandparent bring against the son-in-law or daughter-in-law.
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