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What to Do when Child Protective Services Calls You

Jan. 21, 2022

The Child Protective Services, or CPS, investigates every case they receive. Some of the reports that come to them are false, but they still have the obligation to investigate. There are instances where they may decide not to investigate a case, especially where a child is not in any danger. If the agent does not believe there is neglect or abuse, they let the case go. You do not have to let CPS into your home. However, they can talk to your child without your consent. Whether you believe you have a case to answer or you are good, you need to cooperate with CPS to make the case easy for everyone. However, you have to know your rights. This article explains what you need to know.

CPS Investigates All Reports

CPS considers all reports that come to them. After they receive a report, they start investigations, which might be as simple as taking to a parent or as complex as a full investigation involving neighbors. It is required by law that CPS responds to a report within 72 hours. They may try to meet the entire family, or they can meet the child alone.

After CPS initiates a case, they may or may not call you as a parent. If they contact you, and you deny the claims, they will still continue their investigations. A reporter might call CPS for the same thing several times and CPS will still consider the allegations. However, there are rules that protect you from the CPS and from reporters. For instance, if someone calls CPS several times about the same thing and there is no evidence after investigating four times, CPS will close the cases without even informing you.

CPS Can Interview Your Child

If you do nothing after receiving a call from CPS, they can visit your child in school and interview them. However, if you tell the CPS that you do not want the child interviewed, they will oblige. You can note in the child’s file that no one should interview them in your absence. However, if there is an emergency, CPS can obtain a court order that compels you to allow them to interview the child.

CPS Visiting Your Home

The Department of Social Services mandates the CPS to follow up on cases even in people’s houses. However, if the CPS wants to talk to your child in your home, they have to ask for your permission. They will call you, and you can cooperate or tell them no. It is always good to cooperate to make the case run faster.

If your child is home alone, CPS can only get into your home if there is reason to believe the child is in danger, and they have to be accompanied by the police. A child can be interviewed without your consent outside your home. If CPS workers enter your home without your permission, you can call the police on them. Once you allow them into your home, you can ask them to leave any time you want.

Know Your Rights

Do you know your rights when CPS calls you? If you do not, you can always ask the worker for more time to look up your rights. Although you need to cooperate so that you do not harm your case, calling an attorney or looking your rights for a few days is good for you.

The CPS will conduct a thorough investigation. They will ask so many questions, most of which may not be related to the investigation, and if it feels like they are digging up your current and past life. Issues of drugs, domestic violence, financial constraints, and so many others will come up. If they find something else, say domestic violence, while investigating abuse, the DSC officers will recommend a solution based on what they find.

Calls for Drug Tests

The CPS cannot test you for drugs unless you consent. However, the rules vary from one state to the next. In some cases, all people involved in the case have to undergo a drug test. If that is the case, you will have no option but to take the test.

Cooperate with CPS

There are several cases of child abuse and child neglect reported to the DSC. Some of these are investigated and the child rescued, but some are false reports. If you receive a call from CPS, cooperate with them. The goal of CPS is not to break up families – they are there to protect a child who may be suffering or is in imminent danger. Cooperating can help your case.