CPSknowledge breaks down the terminology, the expectations and the rules of Child Protective Services and provides strategies to help successfully prepare for and navigate Child Protective Services cases. Written by our expert team of child welfare consultants, this is the most comprehensive and strategic knowledge base on navigating CPS you’ll find anywhere- online or offline. Immerse yourself in the insider ‘CPS Knowledge’ you can’t afford to ignore. CPSknowledge is a CPSprotect Consulting Services publication.

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A CPSprotect Consulting Services Publication 

Medical Child Abuse Vs. Medical Child Neglect: What’s the difference?While Child Protective Services (CPS) allegation terms differ across states, they all cover medical child abuse and medical child neglect in some manner. However, to many, it’s not clear how the allegations differ. There could be substantial overlap, for example, with physical abuse and there are questions as to who defines what medical treatments are and are not necessary. In some states, the consequences of substantiated abuse allegations may be more severe than neglect allegations and with abuse allegations, CPS …, May 2, 2024
The Child Welfare System: How is it Structured?In the United States, the child welfare system and Child Protective Services are used interchangeably to describe anything related to the government and child protection, including family/juvenile court, but the child welfare system is a distinct entity in its in right. In fact, the child welfare system consists of four main, distinct components: Child Protective Services, Foster Care/Kinship Care, Prevention Services and Adoption. Child Protective Services Child Protective Services (CPS) is responsible for collecting reports of and investigating allegations of …, April 25, 2024
A Sequential Review of CPS Cases: What does the Sequence Look Like from Beginning to End?While the details of CPS case operation differ by state, the general framework is set on the federal level in the Child Abuse Prevention & Treatment Act (CAPTA). A CPS case is typically divided into three stages; while the specific names of these stages may vary across states, the functions and sequence are consistent. Let’s take a closer look at each of these stages, how long they last and what occurs in each stage. Intake No CPS case starts without …, April 18, 2024
The Outsourcing of Foster Care & Prevention Services: Who is this Non-Profit Contractor & What’s Their Relationship to CPS?Child Protective Services agencies rely heavily on private contractors for foster care and prevention services. This means that while you may initially be dealing with a CPS investigator employed directly by CPS, you may not be dealing with them for most of your case (depending on how far it goes) and what, if any, actions are taken. This is because government employees are expensive. They’re often unionized, extremely difficult to terminate and have bureaucratic hiring processes. The private sector has …, April 11, 2024
Legitimate Reports of Child Maltreatment: What Does it Mean to Make a Report in Good Faith?There’s a lot of confusion as to what constitutes a legitimate report of child maltreatment. We’ve seen many parents define a legitimate report based solely on whether they think it’s accurate in its suspicion- which is not how such reports are evaluated for acceptance. Because CPS is not clear as to what constitutes a legitimate report and what options exist for recourse, many families end up making assumptions that end up making things worse for them later- not better. So …, April 4, 2024
The CPS Risk Assessment: What’s the Difference Between Safety & Risk?As described in a prior article, Child Protective Services (CPS) agencies conduct a safety assessment in every child maltreatment investigation. Per the Child Abuse Prevention & Treatment Act (CAPTA), they also conduct a risk assessment and most CPS agencies have done so since the 1980s. This typically occurs later in the investigation stage and always after completion of the safety assessment. If the safety assessment is to assess safety and decide whether action is needed, then what is the risk …, March 28, 2024
Going to the Media with Your CPS Case: Is it a Good Idea?Many families feel they have been wronged by CPS- and no doubt, there are many that have been. The problem is that many laws and policies that govern CPS are extremely vague, which leads to many instances of: technically, it can be interpreted legal. This brings to mind a cliché as old as time: just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. When the standard is ‘as long as it’s technically legal, I’m taking action,’ the values underpinning society fall …, March 21, 2024
The Alphabet Soup of CPS Agency Acronyms: Who is the Child Welfare System Where You Live?At CPSprotect Consulting Services, we see parents affected by CPS seeking and exchanging information on social media in groups. Often, questions will cite the CPS (Child Protective Services) agency in question, which may not have identical policies and local laws that a CPS agency in another state has. When you factor in specific allegations and circumstances, this gets even more complicated. Sometimes, the only advice a parent receives is from a third party in another state talking about their experience …, March 14, 2024
The Safety Assessment: How Does CPS Determine Child Safety & Action?In every child maltreatment investigation, CPS conducts a safety assessment. Families aren’t told about the tool used to conduct it or how it’s evaluated; all they see is a CPS investigator who shows up at the door, interviews them and comes back with a very strong opinion that can come with some very swift, very profound actions. Hidden behind the scenes are policies that govern a formulaic evaluation of safety- just plug in the information and out pop the next …, March 7, 2024
Mental Health Records & CPS: How do I Avoid Making a Bad Situation Worse?It is standard practice for Child Protective Services (CPS) to request HIPAA consent for mental health records and to speak with any mental health providers who treat you or your child(ren) when there is suspicion of a mental health diagnosis, a mental health diagnosis is disclosed, or CPS believes there is a mental health concern I na household member. More often than not, families often provide this consent, because they believe they have nothing to hide; that can be a …, February 29, 2024
Parental Drug Use Allegations: How Can I be a Parent & an Adult in Peace?Adults like to do…adult things. Occasionally, these activities include the consumption of idrugs and alcohol. While adults often congregate with others in certain types of venues to participate in such activities, sometimes we do these types of activities at home. Unfortunately in this respect, home is where our child(ren) there’s a general consensus that illicit drugs and alcohol are a detriment to their health and development. This means Child Protective Services (CPS) might have a problem with at least some …, February 22, 2024
Coaches: A Way Around the Mandated Reporter Problem for Quality Professional Assistance?Coaching is a large industry with varying specialties. From business coaches to wellness coaches, there’s no shortage of them. Coaches have even branched into the specialties of nutrition, wellness, mental health and more. Coaches are not typically licensed (although they may have other professional licenses, they’re not required of most coaches. Many reputable coaches are certified by the International Coaching Federation (ICF) or an ICF-affiliated organization) and may not be able to diagnose or provide medications, they can provide valuable …, February 15, 2024
Hidden Foster Care: When Is a Voluntary Placement Involuntary?It happens more than one might think. A report alleging child maltreatment is made to Child Protective Services (CPS), CPS shows up to investigate and after conducting a safety assessment the CPS investigator decides the child(ren) can’t safely remain in the home. The CPS investigator offers an ultimatum: suggest a kinship caregiver they can take the child(ren) to immediately or we’ll have no choice but to take your case to court and place your child(ren) in foster care. What’s a …, February 8, 2024
CPS & Your Signature: To Sign or Not to Sign?CPS provides a lot of documentation, some of which will involve the Child Protective Services (CPS) investigator, Foster Care Case Manager, Prevention Services provider or other child welfare system employee requesting your signature. Signing any document has the potential for legal implications and therefore, should never be taken lightly. That being said, what kind of documentation might CPS provide for which you would be requested to sign and how should you respond to it? Documentation, CPS or related personnel may …, February 1, 2024
Inter-Jurisdictional Placements: What is the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children?State and municipal Child Protective Services (CPS) agencies tend to be extremely territorial. In states where local operations are conducted at the county level, even individual counties act very territorial toward their neighbors when it comes to jurisdiction. This becomes a problem when placement is at issue. Let’s say your child is placed in foster care and a suitable kinship placement has been identified, but this placement resides in another state, where the removing agency does not have jurisdiction…what happens? …, January 25, 2024
Questioning Families to Elicit Information: What Types of Questions does CPS Ask?Child Protective Services (CPS) has refined the process by which it interviews families over the more than a century that organized Child Protection has existed. This is one of the main methods CPS has at its disposal to gather the evidence needed to substantiate allegations and if deemed necessary, take further action. There are many different types of questions CPS asks designed to make interviewees feel safe to open up and to provide as many details as possible. If you …, January 18, 2024
The Next Frontier for Child Welfare: What is the Title IV-E Prevention Services Clearinghouse?Prevention Services are services eligible for federal subsidies under Title IV-E of the Social Security Act. Offered by Child Protective Services (CPS) agencies directly (or more commonly, by 501(c)4 non-profit social service agencies contracted by CPS), prevention services are, at least in theory, designed to prevent out-of-home placement (foster care, kinship care, institutionalization, etc.) of child(ren) when CPS identifies safety concerns and either the reasonable efforts requirement doesn’t apply or reasonable efforts have been made and despite them, CPS still …, January 11, 2024
California AB 391: Is True Anonymous Reporting of Child Maltreatment on its Way Out of Style?This time last year, anonymous reporting of child maltreatment, where it is optional for reporters to disclose any personally identifying information when making a report of child maltreatment to a state or local hotline, was permitted in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. On September 1st, 2023, a Texas law went into effect that made accepting anonymous reports of child maltreatment illegal in the state. California wasn’t far behind and it passed a bill that took effect January 1st, 2024. …, January 4, 2024
Medical Records & CPS: How Do I Avoid Making a Bad Situation Worse?It is standard practice for CPS to request HIPAA consent for medical records and to speak with any medical professionals who treat your child(ren). More often than not, families often provide this consent because they believe they have nothing to hide- that can be a big mistake. Conversely, refusing any and all access to medical records or treating medical professionals can be a big mistake, too. This begs the following question: what should I do about requests for medical information …, December 28, 2023
When the Court Gets Involved & CPS Just Won’t Leave: What is Court-Ordered Supervision?When the court gets involved in a Child Protective Services (CPS) case, the bureaucracy immediately gets a lot thicker and the case timeline gets a lot longer. Whether or not your child(ren) are removed from your care, the court adds to CPS involvement a very slow-moving element with immense power and authority. Generally, CPS cases have up to three stages: intake, investigation and child welfare services. Intake stages are brief and last as long as it takes for a report …, December 21, 2023
Foster Care Case Managers: How are They Different from CPS Investigators?CPS investigators are responsible for investigating and determining reported allegations of child abuse and neglect. When a child is removed from their family by CPS, the investigator doesn’t stay as the primary worker for long, as there are plenty of other cases that need to be investigated and determined…so who takes over? That person would be the foster care case manager. Foster care case managers are the primary caseworkers once CPS has removed a child, they’re placed in foster care, …December 14, 2023
Court-Appointed Special Advocates: How do They Differ from the Guardian Ad Litem?The logistics of legal representation in Child Protective Services (CPS) cases in family court can be confusing. From nuanced differences in the laws and regulations governing courts across state lines to intrastate variations in interpretation across judges, it’s a minefield- even for families already familiar with the child welfare system. One area of this confusion is representation appointed to child(ren) who have been taken into the custody of Child Protective Services (CPS) and placed in kinship care, foster care or …December 7, 2023
Recording CPS: Is it Legal & if so, How?The right to record another person has been a hot topic in recent years- most prominently in the right to record the police while they’re working. In addition, the introduction of two-party consent laws in some states regarding video or audio recording and the inconsistency with which such laws are enforced makes answering what seems like such a simple question extraordinarily confusing with the possibility of profound consequences (e.g. getting arrested, criminally charged and prosecuted) if you’re wrong. So…which is …November 30, 2023
Letting CPS into Your Home: When, Why & How Much?In every case, Child Protective Services (CPS) will try to assess the home for child safety. Whether or not to let them in and how much access to give them is a difficult decision to make in the moment. CPS might say that if you’re a good parent, you’ve got nothing to hide. However, in the world of CPS, you might not know exactly what CPS might define as a safety concern and the consequences that might bring. That fear …November 16, 2023
Voluntary Placement Versus Removal: How Can One Tell the Difference in a CPS Case?There is a lot of confusion over how removals are conducted by CPS and what the rules actually are. This makes it difficult to tell when you have a say in the matter, when you don’t, what questions to ask and how to plan effectively. This can cause families to make choices that are not in their interest without realizing it until the damage is already done. So…how exactly does CPS conduct a removal, how can you make sure it’s …November 9, 2023
The Highest Standard of Evidence Used by CPS to Determine Allegations: What is the Clear & Convincing Evidence Standard?State CPS agencies use one of three standards of evidence to determine allegation(s) convincing evidence. While exact wording my vary in practice, these are the three standards used. Clear and convincing evidence is the highest standard used and is only in use in one state (scroll to the end of this article to find out which); the rest use a lower standard of evidence. In the 1984 case Colorado v. New Mexico, the United States Supreme Court defined clear and …November 2, 2023
Domestic Violence & Failure to Protect: How Can I Protect Myself from my Partner and the Wrath of CPS?Victims of spousal abuse with children face a seemingly terrible dilemma: take every tongue-lashing, every beating and keep your mouth shut or save yourself and risk Child Protective Services (CPS) involvement- and the possibility you lose your child(ren) forever. With those options, there are a great many who suffer in silence. Why is this? Quite simply, it comes down to three words: failure to protect. Failure to protect is the failure to protect your minor child(ren) from harm or possible …October 26, 2023
A Substantiated Case Without Court: What are the Consequences & What are My Options for Recourse?Substantiated Child Protective Services (CPS) cases are determined by CPS- not the remedial (family or juvenile) courts. There are many substantiated CPS cases that never see the inside of a court room. How is this possible? The remedial courts in the context of CPS cases exist to enforce compliance with CPS mandates and in cases where the child(ren) are removed and placed in foster care, kinship care or an institutional setting, when or if it is safe for the child(ren) …October 19, 2023
Making Your Home CPS Safe: What Constitutes a Safe Home in the Eyes of CPS?When CPS comes into your home, it’s not always clear what they’re looking for. Whether they’re in your home by court order or you’ve let them in on your own terms, they’re in and they’re looking around. Even if you believe you have a safe home, that doesn’t mean CPS believes the same. It’d be a lot easier if you knew what CPS was looking for before they showed up. Let’s take a deep dive into what a safe home …October 12, 2023
Appealing CPS as a Strategy: What is an Administrative Review?There’s a lot of confusion in the public eye as to who is actually responsible for determining whether child abuse or neglect occurred in CPS cases: CPS or the court? If the court is involved, aren’t they determining guilt? Does the court have veto power over CPS? How can a determination be overturned? The answer is simple, but it can complicate the resolution. CPS is solely responsible for conducting the investigation and determining whether or not child abuse or neglect …October 5, 2023
Guilty as Defined by CPS: What Are the Consequences of a Substantiated Case?When a report is made alleging child abuse or neglect has occurred and the hotline accepts it, an investigation into the allegations commences shortly after. The investigation into the allegations reaches one of two conclusions: substantiated or unsubstantiated (sometimes referred to as indicated or unfounded). In effect, they’re big words referring to a guilty or not guilty verdict. There’s a lot of confusion over what a substantiated case means when it comes to Child Protective Services (CPS) and how to …September 28, 2023
A Special Needs Child in Crisis: How Can I Get Help from Law Enforcement Without the Follow-Up From CPS?Your child with autism has a meltdown you can’t safely keep under control. Your child with bipolar disorder has refused to take his or her medication for 3 days and is raging. Your teenager recently diagnosed with schizophrenia is hallucinating and you’re afraid for your safety and theirs. It’s 9:00 at night. You can’t reach the psychiatrist, clinical psychologist, clinical social worker, mental health counselor or other pediatric mental health professional. There’s no one else home. What do you do? …September 21, 2023
The Catch-All Allegation: What Exactly is Inadequate Guardianship?The list of possible allegations in a Child Protective Services (CPS) investigation vary by state- especially when it comes to neglect. Because of this lack of standardization, experiences may differ across states- even with an identical standard of evidence used to determine them. No state’s list of allegations covers all possible abusive or neglectful situations with specific allegations. This is where inadequate guardianship and similarly worded allegations with little specificity come into play. Non-specific allegations like inadequate guardianship are used …September 14, 2023
The Lowest Formal Burden of Proof: What is the Some Credible Evidence Standard?While some Child Protective Services (CPS) cases end in up in court, the determinations of whether child abuse or neglect occurred are exclusively the domain of CPS- not the courts. CPS agencies in most states (26) use the fair preponderance of the evidence standard to determine allegations of child abuse and neglect. However, in 25 states and Washington, D.C., CPS agencies use an even lower standard of evidence: the some credible evidence standard (or similar standard in different wording). With …September 7, 2023
Texas HB 63 & HB 730: Is Texas Leading the Way in Child Welfare Reform?With the passing of two bills set to take effect September 1st, 2023, Texas is trying to reign in the child welfare system. The first bill, HB 63, amends section 261.104 of the Texas Family Code to ban anonymous reporting of child abuse and neglect in the state of Texas and replace it with a confidential reporting only model. The second, HB 730, amends section 261.301 of the Texas Family Code to strengthens the rights of parents under active investigation …August 31, 2023
Chronic Medical Conditions & CPS: How is Your or Your Child’s Diagnosis Affecting the Outcome of Your Case?Chronic medical conditions are variable in their prevalence individually, but extremely common collectively. Data suggests more than half the population in the United States suffers from at least one chronic physical health condition. When you or your child has a diagnosed medical condition, it factors into CPS’ safety assessment…but how and what are the answers CPS is looking for? Chronic medical conditions by themselves are not usually safety concerns, but as soon as some aspect of its management falls outside …August 24, 2023
CPS & Public Schools: What Exactly is the Nature of Their Cozy Relationship?The public schools play a large role in Child Protective Services (CPS) involvement. After all, more than 1 in 5 reports to CPS in the United States is made by school staff. That’s more than 20% of all reports! Many parents report their children being pulled out of class and interviewed by CPS without their consent or notification. How did the schools become besties with CPS and is it legal? If so, how and what is the nature of the …August 17, 2023
The Investigative Consultant: How Does CPS Get Access to So Much Legal Information?In the course of a Child Protective Services (CPS) investigation, an enormous amount of private personal information is collected and stored. When the government gets involved, people often assume realize the government has access to information the public may not necessarily get to see, but how this is done is often shrouded in mystery- as is usually the case when we’re talking about CPS. While CPS has connections to other executive government agencies (such as public schools, public health agencies …August 10, 2023
Using CPS for Nefarious Purposes: What Qualifies as a Malicious Report to CPS?Many families who have experienced Child Protective Services (CPS) involvement claim they are victims of malicious reports, but is it true? Just how prevalent are malicious reports to CPS? The truth is there isn’t much research on malicious reports made to CPS and we don’t actually know the prevalence. The Administration for Children & Families, the federal child welfare agency, stated that in 2019, intentionally false reports comprised 0.0% of all CPS reports made that year. While it’s inaccurate that …August 3, 2023
When CPS Doesn’t Do Everything Possible to Keep Families Together: What Does Reasonable Efforts Actually Mean?When Child Protective Services (CPS) removes child(ren) and places them in a different setting (foster care, kinship care or institutionalization), CPS often tells the court that despite their ‘reasonable efforts’ to keep the family together, they were unable to keep the child(ren) safe in the home. Therefore, removal was necessary. This is the typical narrative when CPS files a motion in the family court for a custody order and it’s usually granted. Many parents question whether the efforts made by …July 27, 2023
Supervised Visitation Outside of Foster Care: Who Can Supervise & How?When CPS removes your child(ren) and an order of protection against you is granted by the court, supervised visitation is often the only way you’re allowed to see your child(ren). However, CPS is not known for being an effective facilitator of consistent supervised visitation- especially under what the average person would consider reasonable conditions. In some cases, CPS can and does allow extended family members or close friends to supervise this visitation. Let’s go over the specific conditions, criteria and …July 20, 2023
The Master Law for CPS Agencies: What is the Child Abuse Prevention & Treatment Act?The Child Abuse Prevention & Treatment Act (CAPTA), one of the oldest federal laws on the books specific to Child Protective Services (CPS), was passed in 1974. Its purpose was to provide a framework for CPS for states to follow, including required funding, structure and programs. It’s been amended numerous times since it was initially passed, with the most recent amendment made in 2018. As CPS only started to become the responsibility of states in the 1960s as the private …July 13, 2023
The Poverty Allegation: How Does CPS Define Inadequate Food/Clothing/Shelter?Child Protective Services (CPS) involvement has been known to be more common in lower income families than the highest income families, but whether or not CPS specifically penalizes poverty has been a subject of much debate. While poverty alone is not penalized by CPS, there is an allegation CPS investigates that has a higher specificity for the lowest tax brackets. That allegation is inadequate food/clothing/shelter. Inadequate food/clothing/shelter may be worded differently across states, but the allegation is just the same: …July 6, 2023
Divorce, Custody Disputes & CPS Reports: How Do I Make Sure I Can Still Raise My Kids?Divorce rates remain high and when children are in the picture, custody battles can get brutal- not to mention the potential for parental alienation if the divorce is a particularly messy one. In fact, you don’t even have to get divorced to end up in such a predicament- you just have to have had child(ren) with another human being. It’s not often said out loud, but Child Protective Services (CPS) can and is used as a weapon in child custody …June 29, 2023
Haaland v. Brackeen & the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978: What’s the Verdict, What’s the Law & How Does it Affect Families?The Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (ICWA) was created to protect the heritage of Native Americans (including Native Alaskan and Hawaiian peoples). ICWA was a response to a high incidence of removals of Native American children by the government and other parties that were placing them with non-Native families or boarding schools in an attempt to assimilate them without any effort to preserve the connection to their own cultural heritage. There is documented evidence of this activity in the …June 22, 2023
When CPS Brings the Cavalry: What Role Does Law Enforcement Play in CPS Cases?Occasionally, law enforcement gets directly involved in Child Protective Services (CPS) investigations. A family may be surprised when law enforcement shows up with CPS for reported allegations that may be frivolous, triggering thoughts of a disproportionate response. There’s a lot of confusion as to when law enforcement gets involved in CPS cases and the role they actually play. If a CPS investigator has a concern about his or her own safety due to the allegation(s) made in the report, s/he …June 15, 2023
The Guardian Ad Litem: What are These ‘Best Interests’ My Child Has & How are They Represented?Your CPS case has been brought to court and an attorney is appointed to represent your child(ren)…or the ‘best interests’ of your children…or something. This attorney is called the guardian ad litem and they are not your child(ren)’s attorney- that’s a common misconception. The reality is mixed up in false assumptions, a dead language and a poorly defined term. Guardian ad litem is a legal term with Latin roots meaning: guardian for the purposes of legal action only. They are …June 8, 2023
I Can’t Define it, but I Know What it is: How Does CPS Assess Supervision of Children?In our experience, lack of supervision is the most contentious allegation Child Protective Services (CPS) investigates. Lack of supervision is among the most common allegations reported by non-mandated reporters. It’s an allegation of hindsight and therefore, very difficult to prevent in the course of doing right by your child(ren). Children don’t all develop at the same rate and there are so many variables at play when it comes to determine how much independence is appropriate for a child to have. …June 1, 2023
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- just seven do not specify and only two, Texas and California, explicitly forbid them by law.. 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 …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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