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originallawyer, Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 879
Experience:  9+ years of experience in divorce, custody battles and mediation.
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I got an anonymous complaint about me to CPS that alcohol

Customer Question

I got an anonymous complaint about me to CPS that alcohol was detected on me while with my son. An appointment was made for CPS to come to my home almost 2 weeks after said incident. What can I expect on this visit? What are my rights? Can they interview my son? Can they BA or UA me?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  originallawyer replied 11 months ago.

Thanks for your question! I am working on your answer. This service is for information only. I cannot give you legal advice. Please stand by!

Expert:  originallawyer replied 11 months ago.

What they're looking for is what your home life is like. A clean living space, decently filled pantry/fridge, kids have their own space, age appropriate toys, kids are clean and look healthy, etc. They may observe you interacting with your son.

In theory, you don't have to let them in without a warrant or court order. But you don't really stand to gain anything by refusing entry. If you don't have anything to worry about, it's actually in your favor to let them in and see that you have a perfectly normal home. That way if someone else makes another complaint, CPS knows that there's someone out there probably using CPS to harass you. Not letting them, while within your rights, generally raises the CPS worker's suspicion.

They will interview you, and they will likely want to talk to your son separately from you, depending on his age.

Since the allegation was alcohol, unless they think you're under the influence at the time of the visit, they probably won't ask you to do a UA or breathalyzer. If the allegation was drugs, they probably would do a drug test.

They can ask. You don't have to submit. If you don't submit, they can try to get a court order to force you to take a test. They may also threaten to remove the child if they have reason to believe the child will be in danger if they stay in the home.

Bot***** *****ne: CPS without a court order or warrant has as much power as you let them have. But they do have the ability to get warrants and court orders and will do so if they feel like it's necessary.

There are good workers and bad workers out there. Most are really just doing their job making sure kids are okay. They don't want to ruin your life or hassle you. If an allegation is made, it's their duty to follow up on it.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Because his father a I split custody, I only have my son 1/2 the week. I don't see why a 'hot' UA can be used against me if I'm not under any court orders and our son is not always in my home. Not to mention the report was filed over a week 1/2 ago. I'm fine with submitting a BA. My home is neat and clean, my son is always well dressed and washed and there is always healthy food on our shelves. Unfortunately, however, we share a one bedroom home. We have separate beds, but they're in one room. Will this be a problem?
Expert:  originallawyer replied 11 months ago.

It would be in your best interest to make sure any potential UA would come up clean. A hot UA suggests that you might have used while in the presence of your child and at that point it's your word against the test.

The one bedroom may be an issue, depending on the age of your son, although it's definitely good that you have separate beds. If that's the only flag, it shouldn't be an issue.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
My son is 6. I feel he's too young to be interviewed 'against' his mother, but yet young enough that a shared bedroom is still ok.. I will stand up for this. Although we get along today, his father and I do have a checkered past and he's been know to throw me under the bus. I feel he could be behind this, but not able to prove it. Obviously CPS will not say who called. Alcohol has been my demon in the past and the social worker who called said she's looked up my background and I can just do a UA. I've done some research and found that I do not have to agree and this is there way for me to admit guilt. I will not say anything that can be used against me. Less is more. Can they continue the investigation if I do not comply? Will they stop if I do? I'm finding that although CPS is in the best interest of the child, they also will do what they can to catch the parent dirty and pick and choose what they want to hear. I'm planning on having a witness present.
Expert:  originallawyer replied 11 months ago.

They can definitely continue the investigation if you do not comply. Failing to comply just means they'll go to court to get orders for what they need, ie testing, ability to speak with your son, etc. Failing to comply does not mean they just go away. In fact, failing to comply usually makes them try harder.

If you do comply, and there's nothing to worry about, then you have a possibility of the investigation being dropped.

They will probably consider six as old enough to interview on his own. Six is old enough to be "coached" or intimidated by a parent in the same room, which is why they usually interview children separately. CPS does this because children are naturally reluctant to say something that might get their parent in trouble in front of their parent.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
What questions will they ask my son? What UA will they demand? EtG?
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
how soon after our meeting on Monday can they demand the UA?
Expert:  originallawyer replied 11 months ago.

It's impossible to predict exactly what kind of UA they will ask you to submit to. That would be the choice of the department. They might asking you to provide a sample on the day of the meeting. Or they might require you to go to a lab to provide the sample within a certain time frame like 48 hours.

As for your son, they will ask him questions to help determine if there's any reason to be concerned about his welfare. There's not necessarily a script they'll follow. They will be age appropriate questions designed to make sure he feels safe and comfortable at home. It's not their goal to make you look bad to him.