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Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 41221
Experience:  I provide family and divorce law advice to my clients in my firm.
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My husband and I have a son who will turn 2 this month. We

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My husband and I have a son who will turn 2 this month. We were approached this weekend by two neighbors who wanted to caution us about a single childless gentleman who lives down the street from us. They told us that he apparently is easily agitated and doesn't like noise, and in recent years has taken it upon himself to call either animal control or child protective services when he is agitated. He's called child protective services at least six times in the last two years (its a large subdivision) usually anonymously. All of his claims have ultimately been deemed unfounded. But they still have led to the families being contacted by a case worker, and the families incurring large amounts if stress and legal fees. In one situation, he called because a four year old's father was driving him slowly around the yard on a lawn mower (blades not operating). Another time he called because a child looked too thin. Our neighbors simply wanted to warn us to be careful around him.

My husband and I were talking later about it. We're trying to figure out the best way to protect our family. And if the worst case scenario happens, and this man reports us for some frivoulus reason, how should we respond? Obviously we'd hire an attorney, but what do we initally do if child protective services contacts us? Do we answer questions, let them in our house, etc?

Thank you for your question. Please permit me to assist you with your concerns.

To answer your question directly, there are really two separate options. The first is to consider pursuing the neighbor directly for defamation of character and for harassment. This is a good option if the complaint was not anonymous or you are aware that the comments made are outright false.

As for what to do with CPS, obtain counsel without even considering doing anything else. While most agencies can be dealt with without attorneys, even attorney who are contacted by CPS for personal reasons tend to 'lawyer up'. Until they have a court order, letting them in is not a requirement, and speaking with them without an attorney present is simply unwise.

Good luck.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
By 'court order', do you mean search warrant? I think that what scares us the most is that the neighbors who have experienced this have said that the CPS case workers have been intimidating. In some cases they even implied that if they can't enter the house right then or interview the parents that they can take their children right then. One parent invited the case worker in thinking she didn't have anything to hide. And the dinner dishes that were still in the sink were reported as 'dirty dishes piled up.'

So what you're basically saying is that a persons constitutional rights still remain intact, even when CPS is involved, correct?

Thank you for your follow-up, Barbara.

By 'court order' is indeed a warrant from the courts allowing them entry. CPS is naturally intimidating and at times over-zealous in what they are pursuing. This is why having an attorney is essential especially since CPS has been known to not inform you of simple facts such as that you can simply say 'no' and not let them in. To take the children they must show valid cause to do so, that is, a legitimate and apparent issue or concern. They do like to threaten, which is why refusing to speak until your attorney is present is the first step in getting them to stop bullying you. So yes, your rights remain regardless of what they state.

Good luck.

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