Each week, CPSknowledge will cover a term, law, or news story in child welfare and provide the information you need to know to better understand the child welfare system. The more you know, the better prepared you’ll be. A new post is released every Thursday. CPSknowledge is a CPSprotect Consulting Services publication.

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A CPSprotect Consulting Services Publication 

Gender Transitions for Minors & CPS: How do you Preserve Your Rights & Protect Your Family?Gender transitions for minors are a highly contested issue and generally speaking, states are legislating accordingly along partisan lines; blue states are demanding that parents get any child who claims to be of a different gender do whatever the child says immediately including hormones and surgery, while red states are predominantly trying to outlaw gender transitions of minors entirely. Both approaches have one thing in common, though: the parents are nowhere to be found in the decision-making process. Child Protective …May 25, 2023
Removal of Newborns with Prenatal Substance Exposure: When, Why & On What Grounds?The most common situation in which Child Protective Services (CPS) resorts to family separation is when a newborn child tests positive for illicit drugs due to prenatal substance exposure. Typically, when a hospital runs this test on a newborn and it comes back positive, they will immediately report it to CPS and the removal will be performed at the hospital. CPS tends to take a remove first and ask questions later approach in these types of cases. Occasionally, the removal …May 18, 2023
Persons Legally Responsible: Who Can be Held Responsible by CPS for Child Maltreatment?It’s commonly assumed that in order to be determined responsible for child abuse or neglect by Child Protective Services (CPS), you need to be a parent or other primary caregiver to child(ren). Don’t be fooled- just because they’re not your children doesn’t mean you can’t be held responsible by CPS. While terminology may vary by state, individuals who can be determined responsible for child abuse or neglect are commonly referred to as persons legally responsible (PLRs). PLRs are formally defined …May 11, 2023
Medical Mimics of Child Abuse: What Can You Do When the ‘Experts’ Misinterpret the Evidence?All medical professionals are mandated reporters to Child Protective Services (CPS) and there are a number of medical conditions that can mimic signs of child abuse. Individually, most of these conditions are relatively rare, but collectively, they’re less so. When these conditions are reported to CPS as alleged child abuse (or in some cases, Munchausen’s Syndrome by Proxy), the consequences can be devastating. What are these medical conditions and what can I do to avoid the worst CPS has to …May 4, 2023
The Work Flow of a CPS Case: What is CPS’ Road Map?Child Protective Services (CPS) investigates allegations of child abuse and neglect, but how does that happen? There are a lot of steps that go into investigating child abuse and neglect. First, the intake phase of involvement is triggered by a call to a child abuse hotline to make a report of child abuse or neglect. These are either state hotlines, usually toll-free, or local county reporting numbers in some states. There is also a national hotline that can forward calls …April 27, 2023
Raising My Child as I See Fit: How Does CPS View Corporal Punishment & What do I Need to Know?Corporal punishment is often a controversial topic in child rearing; some parents swear by its efficacy, while others condemn it entirely. When Child Protective Services (CPS) comes into the picture, though, your view doesn’t matter. What does matter is how CPS views it and if your view and that of CPS are in conflict, potential consequences can be severe. Taking this into account, what does the research show, what doesn’t it show, what are your rights and how can you …April 20, 2023
The Adoption & Safe Families Act: Why the Rush to Terminate Parental Rights?The Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) of 1997 is a comprehensive federal law that seeks to promote the safety and well-being of children in the child welfare system. The AFSA was intended to protect the safety of children, reduce the number of children living in foster care and reduce the time children whose parents have had their parental rights terminated spend in foster care. Despite these intentions, the implementation of ASFA has had a number of negative effects. The …April 13, 2023
When Taking Care of Your Health Gets You in Trouble: What Medications Can Cause a False Positive Drug Test & How Should You Handle it With CPS?Toxicology screens (drug tests) are universally requested by Child Protective Services (CPS) when there are allegations or signs of drug use by any household member (child or adult). Sometimes, they’re also requested even without any evidence to suggest drug use by any household member at all. We at CPSprotect have seen many cases where people who think they have nothing to fear agree to a toxicology screen and to their surprise, end up testing positive. A few are errors made …April 6, 2023
Mandated Reporters of Child Maltreatment: What Are They & Why the Mandate?Required generally by the federal Child Abuse Prevention & Treatment Act (CAPTA) with the specifics delegated to state discretion, a mandated reporter is an individual who is required by law to report any suspicion of child abuse or neglect to the appropriate authorities. In most jurisdictions, mandated reporters are professionals such as educational professionals, mental health professionals, social workers, law enforcement and healthcare providers. However, some states also require any resident who suspects child abuse or neglect to make a report- …March 30, 2023
Specialized Case Consultants: What Are They & How Can They Help or Hurt My Case?Since Child Protective Services (CPS) investigators and supervisors are not licensed experts in all areas, they often require the assistance of specialists who consult with them on cases. These specialists are licensed practitioners in areas such as health care, law enforcement, domestic violence mental health and substance abuse- but what role do these specialized case consultants play and how do they fit into an investigation? There have been many cases where CPS has gotten in trouble for removing children based …March 23, 2023
Mental Health & CPS: How is Your or Your Child’s Mental Health Diagnosis Affecting the Outcome of Your Case?Mental health conditions are extremely common (as far as chronic conditions go). Data suggests the prevalence of mental illness is as high as 1 in 5. When you or your child has a diagnosed mental health condition, it factors into CPS’ safety assessment…but how and what are the answers CPS is looking for? Mental health conditions by themselves are not safety concerns, but as soon as some aspect of its management falls outside the ideal, it enters a murky area …March 16, 2023
Marijuana Use by Household Members: How is it Addressed by CPS?As Marijuana is legalized in more and more states for medicinal and recreational purposes, you may wonder how CPS is keeping up with the changing times. Well…CPS hasn’t changed the way it addresses marijuana use and in this article, we’ll go over in detail just how they address it. CPS identifies marijuana use in one or more of the following ways: by eyewitness accounts (from your child(ren), other adults in the household, law enforcement or collateral contacts such as neighbors, …March 9, 2023
Domestic Incident Reports: How Does a Brief Argument Turn into Long-Term CPS Involvement?Domestic Incident Reports (DIRs) are police reports of alleged or confirmed domestic violence incidents. These are written when the police respond to a 911 call or in-person report of domestic violence. This can be verbal, physical or both. Even if no one is arrested and all parties deny any domestic violence occurred, a DIR will still be written. If a law enforcement officer observes child(ren) in the home, they will call CPS to investigate, as law enforcement officers are mandated …March 2, 2023
Child Advocacy Centers: What Are They and Why Does the Name Sound Misleading?Child Advocacy Centers are run by non-profit contractors to CPS and often work closely with the local police departments. Before Child Advocacy Centers, in cases with allegations of severe abuse, CPS, law enforcement and the courts would all want to interview a child about allegations and telling a story like that once is traumatic enough; imagine having to tell it over and over again. The Child Advocacy Centers were established to reduce the amount of times children and families had …February 23, 2023
The Differential Response: What is it & What Does it Mean for CPS Investigations?The Differential Response is a Child Protective Services (CPS) practice that allows agencies to tailor their response to the unique needs of each family. The Differential Response is based on the premise that not all families who come to the attention of CPS need the same level of intervention. Some families may need only minimal intervention, while others may require more intensive services. The differential response is outlined nationally in the Child Abuse Prevention & Treatment Act (CAPTA), but it …February 16, 2023
Title IV-E of the Social Security Act: How Does Funding CPS Really Work?Child Protective Services (CPS) often gets accused of profiting off children and Title IV-E of the Social Security Act is commonly used to explain how…but is it true? CPS denies it, but the real answer is…there is some truth to it. It’s complicated. Let’s go through exactly how it works: Title IV-E of the Social Security Act is a federal program administered by the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that provides funds to states, territories, and …February 9, 2023
Anonymous Reporting of Child Abuse & Neglect: How Does it Differ from Confidential Reporting?All reports made to child abuse hotlines in the United States are confidential. Most states allow anonymous reports by legal statute- only 7 do not. First of all, a confidential report is any report made to the child abuse hotline where the information about the source of the report is kept private or is on a need-to-know basis. This is to protect the source from retaliation for making the report. Anonymous reports are accepted by legal statute in most states …February 2, 2023
The Minimum Standard of Care: What is it & How Does CPS Define it?The minimum standard of care in the context of Child Protective Services (CPS) involvement is the level of care that is considered to be adequate for a child at any given time. This standard is based on the child’s age, development, and needs. It is important to note that the minimum standard of care is not the same as the optimal level of care. The minimum standard of care is the level of care that is considered to be adequate …January 26, 2023
Childhood Vaccinations & CPS: When is it Neglect & How Can I Protect My Rights?In response to the mandates of the COVID-19 pandemic, the question of if or when to vaccinate has entered the general conversation. While COVID-19 has not been shown to cause high rates of hospitalization and death in children, children who were unvaccinated for COVID-19 faced significant restrictions in many jurisdictions- particularly where they could go and what they could do. In addition, what was a conversation on COVID-19 vaccinations in children has turned into one on childhood vaccination in general, …January 19, 2023
The Family First Prevention Services Act: What is it and How Does it Apply to Me?The Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) is a federal law that provides funding to states to support evidence-based programs that prevent child abuse and neglect. Passed as an amendment to Parts B and E of Title IV of the Social Security Act in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, the Family First Prevention Services Act was a response to the growing body of research on the importance of early intervention in preventing child maltreatment and the political inconvenience of …January 12, 2023
Educational Neglect: What is it & Why is CPS Interested?Educational neglect is a particular form of neglect investigated by Child Protective Services (CPS) in 27 states and Washington, D.C. (a full list of those states can be found at the end of this article). Put simply, it is the failure to provide the minimum adequate educational opportunities for a child. This can include excessive absences from school, not providing necessary materials for school, not providing adequate supervision for homework or refusing reasonable special education services for your child. Educational …January 5, 2023
A Fair Preponderance of the Evidence: What is Required to Substantiate a Case?While CPS investigation determination terms may vary by state, all will have a determination resembling one of two outcomes: substantiated or unsubstantiated. How does CPS determine this? The answer is they use a standard of evidence (also known as a burden of proof). The one we are most familiar with is the reasonable doubt standard, which is used in criminal court in the United States and is where we get the ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ phrase. This is not the …December 29, 2022
The History of Child Protective Services: How Did We Get Here?The idea that children should be protected is as old as our existence and is not just present in humans: protection of the offspring is present in the animal kingdom, too. The story of Child Protective Services (CPS) as we understand it today starts in New York City in 1864 with the birth of a baby girl named Mary Ellen Wilson. Shortly after her birth, her father Thomas Wilson, died. Her mother, Francis Wilson, now having to work, boarded Mary …December 22, 2022
Prevention Services Vs. CBOs: What are They & Why do They Matter?When people think of services offered by child welfare agencies and their partners, they think of services like domestic violence counseling, psychotherapy, parenting classes and more. What they don’t think of are the strings that could be attached when services are offered through child welfare agencies; these are commonly known as prevention services. Prevention services is a term for a wide range of in-home services offered to families in child welfare investigations allegedly designed to prevent child removal, often administered …December 15, 2022
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