CPS and Parent’s Rights

CPS decoded: CPS stands for Child Protective Services and is the governmental agency that is responsible for providing child protection. They usually respond to complaints about child abuse or neglect.

This agency goes by the name of CPS in most of the states in the U.S, though in a few cases it is also referred to as the Department of Children & Family Services (DCFS) or just Department of Social Services (DSS).

CPS agencies are governed by many federal laws like the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA), Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) and a few more.

Though CPS evolved in order to ensure that child rights are protected, there has been criticism of the system too terming it as anti-family and not having the requisite checks and balances to ensure that it runs correctly. At the crux of
the problem lie the parents who are unaware of their rights when faced with CPS.

Parents’ rights
Though unconstitutional and an unforgivable offense, complaints of child abuse and neglect may at times be acted upon by CPS in a manner that may be termed unjust to the parents. This is what has led to many court cases which have challenged such authority and actions. It is a myth that parents have no rights where CPS is concerned and that parents are abusive if there is a complaint. A due investigation has to be done to find facts backed by evidence in order for CPS to take necessary action.

A few of the inputs that parents can hold on to if faced with such a situation are as below:
1. Even parents have rights, not just the child. It is important to know the rights and ask to be heard of them when talking to people from the CPS. The bottom line is that your consent is needed for them to act.
2. A few of the judgments given out in the such cases have brought out the fact that ‘no prior consent’ interview of the child will constitute a violation of the parent’s rights, especially when done on private property. CPS is not authorized to talk to your child or investigate your home without your due permission.
3. An unwarranted forced entry or seizure of a child is not justified by the mere possibility of a danger.
4. CPS workers too are liable for legal action if they are found to be lying, etc. or try to force an entry into your home. They can be sued for this.
5. When the state breaks up a natural family situation without due proof of parental unfitness and goes solely by a best interest basis, it is a process violation and unfair to the parents.
6. Even the children who have forcefully been removed from their homes by CPS can sue CPS once they become majors.

There is a whole host of other rights associated with CPS related to warrantless entry, seizures, family rights, consent, due process and fundamental rights of the parents granted by the constitution of the United States. It is important to be aware of this even if you are not an abusive parent as there are so many instances of bogus complaints too to which the CPS responds.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Allison Williams, Esq.
Allison Williams, founder of The Williams Law Group is a leading attorney in the area of DYFS defense and DCPP defense. Ms. Williams is a thought leader who specializes in child advocacy, child abuse and child neglect cases and has brought many changes and updates to the child welfare branch of law.

Copyright Williams Law Group, LLC

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication at the time it was written. It is not intended to provide legal advice or suggest a guaranteed outcome as individual situations will differ and the law may have changed since publication. Readers considering legal action should consult with an experienced lawyer to understand current laws and.how they may affect a case. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

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