Even during Child Protective Services (CPS) investigations, you have rights as a parent. Unfortunately, many parents are unaware of what CPS legally can and cannot do. Knowing what CPS is legally permitted to do might help you relax throughout an investigation.
The idea of CPS taking away a kid is scary for any parent. However, don’t be alarmed if you are the subject of an inquiry. CPS social workers want to know about the family dynamic and the living environment. CPS seldom attempts to vilify or discriminate against parents on purpose. The last thing CPS wants to do is separate children from their families.
During a CPS visit, parents should still be aware of their rights. This is because CPS has a lot of power and authority during a house visit. CPS visits will be less stressful for parents who understand their rights and what CPS is legally authorised to do.
What CPS CAN Legally Do
CPS Must Investigate Every Report
This is upsetting for many parents since the statements might be entirely false or misinterpreted. But, on the other hand, investigating a claim is not a recommendation; it is the law, and every allegation must be treated seriously. Every day, over five children die due to child abuse; therefore, every accusation is considered exceptionally seriously.
Regardless, parents should be aware of their rights and how to behave during the inquiry. Parents have the right to know about all of the allegations made throughout the question. Often, allegations are made against genuine parents, but the parents are not deliberately harming their children. Parents, like everyone else, make errors and have misconceptions.
CPS Can Converse With Your Child Without Your Knowledge
Many parents are surprised to learn that CPS may legally speak to their child alone. If the accusations of abuse are severe enough, CPS may seek to talk with your child before speaking with you.
Although parents may dispute the legitimacy of this, it stops children from being forced into stating anything untrue to protect perpetrators. Children may face threats or worse from abusive parents who may be the subject of a CPS investigation.
CPS social workers have been educated to recognise the intricacies of any family dynamic. If parents are concerned that their children may say anything that would incriminate them, keep in mind that CPS social workers must go below the surface level. If your social worker uses something out of context, consult with a lawyer to learn about your legal alternatives.
CPS Can Visit Your House Without Prior Warning
In situations involving severe or violent charges, unannounced visits are quite common. Even if the allegations are minor, you may not learn about an inquiry until a CPS social worker comes. Some parents may anticipate a visit but are unsure when it will occur. If you are not at home when the CPS worker arrives, they will leave contact details so that you may arrange another visit.
CPS May Interview You In An Intrusive Manner
CPS may ask you questions that seem unrelated to your case. These are not charges but rather inquiries. CPS will want to cover all bases throughout the inquiry. You have the right to an interpreter if you do not speak English.
Parents have the right to speak openly with their caseworker about the pending inquiry. However, parents should keep in mind that these conversations are not private and may be referenced in court. Therefore, before you meet with your social worker, consult with a lawyer to know exactly what to say.
Parents and caregivers should also bear in mind that they are not required to answer every question. You have the right to not answer questions and remain silent or to inform the social worker that you do not believe the question is relevant to the case.
What CPS CANNOT Legally Do
CPS Cannot Enter Your House Unless You Give Them Permission
CPS can come to your house without warning, but they cannot enter without your permission. Unless CPS obtains a court order or believes your kid is in imminent danger, they cannot enter your house unless you provide authorisation.
If a CPS social worker visits you and unprepared, inform them that it is not the ideal moment. If you refuse a CPS worker because you are unprepared, request a reschedule. After rescheduling, contact your lawyer and inquire about the best way to prepare for your house visit.
CPS Cannot Compel You To Submit To A Drug Test
Similarly to entering your house, unless CPS has a court warrant, they must obtain your permission to do a drug test. If a social worker tries to pressure you into taking a test, explain that it will be irrelevant to the case and that they will need a court order with reasonable suspicion before they can do so.
Contact Lamb, Carroll, Papp and Cunabaugh, P.C., Attorneys at Law today for legal help.