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Neither the Department of Children, Youth, and Families DCYFthe State of Washington nor any of its employees makes any warranty, express or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, translation, product or process that is disclosed, displayed or appears on the DCYF website.
Your first call is to the social worker assigned to your child's case. That person can help you understand what is going on. Child Protective Services is a state agency that investigates reports of child abuse and neglect. Child safety is the first concern of Child Protective Services.
They will work with both parents to safely care for their child. CPS can also go to court to remove a child from the parents' care if necessary to protect the child. This begins a court process called a dependency case.
At the court hearings, the CPS worker and both the mother and the father can provide information to the court. When a child is placed into state custody, the Division of Child Support will look at the finances of either the mother or father or both and decide what amount the parent s can pay towards the cost of the child's relative, foster or group home placement. It is very important that you open all mail from Child Support right away, follow instructions and provide accurate information about your current financial situation and other obligations, so that a reasonable plan can be created.
Child Support issues can be stressful and there are parent support groups that can help you cope with this process. OFCO intervenes and tries to solve problems when a state agency's action or inaction is unauthorized or unreasonable. OFCOP also makes recommendations to the Governor, the Legislature and agency officials to improve the child welfare system.
Court forms and information about different legal actions paternity, child support, divorce, parenting plans, housing and immigration, etc.
Search Search.Cps Took my kids
Translate Site. Child Welfare System. Child Protective Services. Contact your local child welfare office to find out how to get in touch with your child's social worker.
What is a "Dependency" case? What are my responsibilities as a parent to help raise my child? Supporting and raising your child: Whether or not your child is currently living with you, your child still needs your time, attention, emotional and material support.
One way to do this is to consistently attend visits and plan age appropriate activities for your child. You should also be involved in other areas of your child's life such as school and recreational activities and your child's health care.Probably no other public agency leaves victims and advocates more perplexed than Child Protective Services. On the one hand, people think of CPS with appreciation as they envision a selfless agency rescuing innocent children from horrific conditions.
Indeed, CPS workers across the country do this routinely. The gratitude is deserved. At the same time, the agency seems to be perpetually marred by a steady drumbeat of nightmare stories about CPS emanating from the very families CPS is supposed to serve.
This text deals with just one of these problems; the CPS practice of removing or threatening to remove children from the nonviolent, non-offending parent in cases of family violence.
This guide explains why this happens with such frequency, how to help prevent it from happening in your case, and what to do about it if you're already caught in its grip. Since the non-offending, nonviolent parent in these cases is usually the mother, we often refer to this parent as 'the mother', though there are certainly cases where the non-offending parent is the father.
The Situation as it Usually Unfolds. In brief, the particular problem we cover usually unfolds like this. A mother herself seeks help from CPS or becomes involved with CPS through someone else's report of suspected child abuse. Her child has been physically or sexually abused by a family member, usually by a male family member, or there are concerns the child is living in a home where there is domestic violence.
At first, the mother naturally anticipates that CPS will try to help her and her child, and try to punish and stop the perpetrator. Suddenly she is the one under investigation, and the perpetrator is seeming to be all but ignored. And worse, CPS is threatening to take her child from her, or has already done so without warning or notice, and is threatening to keep the child, right at the time that mother and child need each other most.
She feels the system turn hostile toward her. Did she, the non-offending parent, protect the child from the violent parent? Did she protect the child from molestation? Did she protect the child from being exposed to domestic violence in the home? Well, no, obviously she did not, or could not, or, in the case of molestation, often didn't know about it. Instead of being treated more as a co-victim of a violent perpetrator, with help and guidance provided according to the mother's expressed needs, she is treated more as a co-perpetrator, with CPS establishing mandated controls over virtually any which aspect of her life CPS chooses, all under threat of losing her child.
She is also held accountable for maintaining a cooperative attitude throughout, even though she is, in fact, in a profoundly adversarial relationship with CPS which is why she's given an attorney at court time.
Most mothers say they would rather be threatened with jail than to be threatened with the loss of her child.This often means investigating allegations of abuse and neglect and working with parents to provide safe environments. Children are sometimes unlawfully removed from safe homes.
This can mean having to prove your qualifications as a parent, and an experienced lawyer can often be the difference in getting your child home as soon as possible. If CPS has taken or is threatening to remove your children, contact a defense attorney right away. Let us explain your parental rights, your option for getting your child back, and how we can make the process go as smoothly as possible. Call for a free consultation. CPS should only remove children from their homes when it is necessary to protect them from abuse or neglect.
Children are removed in two ways: With a court order obtained by CPS prior to removal or with a court order obtained following an emergency removal. An emergency removal is not preferred and is only acceptable in certain circumstances. CPS can immediately take children without a court order only if:.
For a CPS emergency removal to be lawful, the organization must still obtain a court order. Any immediate emergency removal without a court order must be reviewed by the court the next business day. For the court to uphold the removal, CPS must prove:.
If CPS cannot demonstrate these factors because the parents have been falsely accused of abuse or neglect, the court will order the return of the child. If the removal is upheld, another hearing will be scheduled within the next 14 days.
When a child is removed after CPS obtained a court order, a hearing must be scheduled within 14 days. At that time, parents can argue for the return of their children, or the court will temporarily order the children placed in CPS care or under the care of a conservator.
If your children were taken by CPS after someone falsely accused you of abusing or neglecting them, your best course of action is to call Houston defense lawyer Ned Barnett immediately. You will either need to be ready for an emergency hearing within a day or two or prepare for an adversary hearing within 2 weeks. With considerable experience and a record of success in CPS investigations and legal actions, attorney Barnett can help reunite you with your child.There are many reasons CPS can take your child from your home.
Many parents are terrified of dealing with Child Protective Services because of the all-too-familiar horror stories surrounding this agency. My children have never been removed from my home, but I have become very familiar with the agency over the years since a few people have reported us for various malicious and non-malicious reasons.
However, I know that we have been fortunate and many other families are not so lucky. Fortunately, we have found answers to this question! Before we go any further, though, I need to remind you that I am not a doctor or social worker. I am a journalist and a researcher. We have a free legal aid directory here. Officially, CPS can only remove your child if they have a court order or if the child is an emergency situation.
The caseworker must honestly believe that the home is not safe for the child, the child is in imminent danger or an emergency has made it impossible for them to leave the child at home. Remember that the goal of CPS is to keep families together while keeping children safe. Although the details may vary, most of the removal-worthy situations can be grouped into a few major categories. The goal of removing a child from the home is to keep the child safe from any immediate harm. Thus, physical violence is one of the main reasons CPS can take your child away.
If sexual abuse has occurred between a child and someone else in the home, at least one person will have to be removed. In some cases, both the offender and the victim may be removed from the home.
How to Get Your Kids Back From CPS
Children who have been the victim of sex trafficking or other human trafficking can also be taken into custody immediately. In some circumstances, drug use can also be one of the reasons CPS can take your child. In some states, marijuana does not count. In other states, it has to be proven that the drugs were used in the presence of the child. Allowing your child to remain on the premises where methamphetamine was manufactured can also result in a removal since that is specifically listed in Texas law.
Many people confuse poverty for abuse, but poverty is not abuse. In order to be abusive, it must be intentional. However, extreme neglect is one of the more common reasons why CPS can take your child. Extreme neglect includes things like:. Extreme environmental danger is another one of the reasons CPS can take your child.
This includes things like firearms and illegal drugs being left in the open, where the child can access it. This also includes things like extreme filthiness, pest infestations, lack of sanitary facilities and more.CPS operates like a rogue agency. There are rules on paper, but no one is held to them. They are licensed to do and say whatever they want to meet their objective, good or bad.
I always suggest hiring a lawyer before speaking to anyone. If a lawyer is not within your means you must film or tape record EVERY interaction you have with them…. This is advice intended for parents who are targeted by evil neighbors, family, etc. CPS is such an easily abused system and their power, resources and budget should be drastically cut. Abuse has not lessened because of them.
Despite their ineffectiveness this agency continues to suck up tax dollars and profit from tearing families apart. Your children become property for profit. So you need to be proactive and ask when did you get the report and who reported this. By law they are not suppose to tell you who reported it.
Bit they have to tell the allegations. Thereby, a lot of times you can figure out who filed the report. And be able to defend the allegations. If they come with the police have the police get a warrant. Again you donot have to cooperate. Now, if they have talked to your kids at school and they have not gotten a full investigation done they still don't have enough under normal circumstances. If your children are of school age you can tell your children not to answer strangers questions about your home with out you being present which makes investigating allegations VERY hard.
Younger children always want to. As a former CPS investigator I have seen and heard a lot. I was amazed at what people did not know and now I try to educate those of their rights. If your children have been removed make sure you get an attorney do not allow the state to appoint you one as they are working for the state and not in YOUR or your children's best interests.
I hope this has answered all your questions and left you understanding the system a little better. CPS has a limited budget and limited resources, so they, for the most part, try to use it wisely. Yes, some CPS a. Yes, some CPS agents do break the rules, but they are a minority. There is a misconception that they are some evil entity because those are the only stories you hear and read about on the news and online.
They can take your kids if the allegations seem credible and serious enough that a reasonable person would think your children are at risk. Kids must be protected. Get a lawyer if you want to ensure that the investigation is fast and thorough.
Otherwise even if they are unfounded it could take months to get them back.
ADDED: While there are many sad stories to be told, my former Daughter in law lost custody of my grandchildren then had more babies. When one was taken away because she was living with a. When one was taken away because she was living with a drug dealer the system actually helped her to change her life.
She got therapy and parenting classes and a whole lot of support and she was ready to change and for the past decade she has led a life of sincerity and honesty and been a good parent to the rest of her children plus having my grandchildren back in her life.
So we should remind ourselves the system exists for a purpose and can produce really good results. Because they can! Please don't think I'm heartless, 3 months ago, I would've given you a completely different opinion.Last Updated: July 11, References Approved.
This article was written by Jennifer Mueller, JD. Jennifer Mueller is an in-house legal expert at wikiHow. Jennifer reviews, fact-checks, and evaluates wikiHow's legal content to ensure thoroughness and accuracy. There are 16 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewedtimes. Each state has its own Child Protective Services CPS agency that is responsible for protecting the health and welfare of children. CPS investigations can be traumatic and stressful for both parents and children.
However, emotional distress alone does not give you the right to sue CPS.
Since CPS social workers are government agents, they cannot act in ways that violate your established civil rights. An overzealous CPS worker may violate your constitutional right to due process, or your protection from unreasonable search and seizure. When that happens, you may be able to sue for monetary damages. Before you sue child protective services, build your case by creating a chronological outline that logs all of your encounters with CPS workers.
Because civil rights lawsuits are notoriously complicated, hire a civil rights attorney to help you identify which of your constitutional rights were violated, then calculate the damages. To initiate your lawsuit, file a complaint in the federal district court that has jurisdiction over the CPS agency. Then, have CPS served with the complaint and evaluate their response with your attorney.
From here, you'll need to attend a summary judgment hearing to see if the judge denies CPS qualified immunity, so you can take them to trial. If you're able to go to trial, prepare for your deposition with your lawyer beforehand to improve your chances of reaching a settlement. For more tips from our Legal co-author, including how to depose the social workers involved, read on. Did this summary help you? Yes No. Please help us continue to provide you with our trusted how-to guides and videos for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your ad blocker.
You also want outlines of any other activities that have anything to do with your children or the reasons CPS became involved with your children.
Gather any related documents and other evidence.You open the door. The investigator demands access to your house, to your kids, to your doctor.
Ten Things Everyone Should Know About Child Protective Services
She wants a drug test. She wants you to place your kids with friends or family—and agree to be supervised around them—while she carries out her investigation at what will turn out to be a leisurely pace. And she tells you that you must comply or there will be trouble. A CPS investigation is serious business and can have life-altering consequences if things go wrong.
Section First, if the report is not about your child, CPS has no authority to investigate. The investigator can ask for access to your child, but you have the authority to deny her that access.
CPS may want to interview your child to find out whether the man has done anything to him. You have the absolute right to tell her no. And I strongly recommend you do, in fact, say no. Because the allegations being investigated by a CPS agent are just the starting point for her.
She will not limit her questioning of the child to the allegations against the other father. If your child says something out of context or in a way that could be taken different ways by an adult, you just bought yourself your own investigation:. You are entitled by law to know the details of what you are accused of doing. A subtle but huge difference.
The latter is a legitimate function of the agency. The former is an idea reminiscent of George Orwell or the Soviet Union. That was all. There were no other allegations. She spit and fumed and threatened. And then she closed the investigation without talking to my client or any of her children.
Why was I able to do that? But even if true it wasthat fact does not prove child abuse. The allegations, which in this case likely came from a feuding relative looking to settle a score this happens a lotwere:. The point on this list that came closest to a legitimate allegation was the fifth one—but not nearly close enough.
The allegation must, if true, constitute abuse or neglect. Nothing on the list does that. Not even a little. Your neighbor down the street. That guy coaching little league?