We all want the best for our children, whether it’s their living conditions or education, and we’ll always work hard for them. That’s why when you’re suddenly contacted by CPS, it can be both a surprising and scary experience.
In the following sections, we’ll help you understand the situation better as well as tell you what you can do when CPS comes knocking on your door and how to get a CPS case dismissed.
What Is CPS?
CPS refers to Child Protective Services and it’s part of the social services department.
The main job of CPS is to help mistreated kids out of their abusive homes and to a safer environment. Each state has its own CPS department where they follow the state’s federal laws.
CPS always answers any complaints made towards a home where someone suspects a child is being abused or neglected.
They assess the situation, and if needed, they will intervene, and sometimes, they may take the child away. Though their main goal is to help families maintain a suitable life for their children.
When Does CPS Case Occur?
Typically, after someone files a CPS complaint, the CPS will evaluate whether there really is an issue occurring in your house or not. If they notice anything that can indicate neglect or abuse, they’ll start an investigation for this case.
The investigation will usually involve interviewing your child if they’re old enough to talk and also examining them to make sure they’re physically okay and not malnourished. Afterward, they’ll start interviewing all the adults surrounding the child.
If they find that there’s nothing to be concerned about, then the case will be dismissed. If they notice anything abnormal or threatening your child’s safety, the case will remain open.
CPS works on protecting children from:
How to Get a CPS Case Dismissed
Even though getting a CPS complaint filed against you can be a frightening event, you should know that CPS is here to help you.
They’re not trying to take away your child unless they find that the child is in immediate danger. Otherwise, CPS will try to find a solution to better your life with your children.
The Best Way to Dismiss a CPS Case
The most important thing to do when a CPS case is open is to follow their instructions. You might feel defensive, but you must remember to always be calm and open to their suggestions.
If they want to inspect your house, welcome them in and be cooperative. If they suggest parenting lessons, attend them diligently. If they ask for drug tests, do them.
After all, this is all for your family’s sake. Try your best to answer any and all their questions truthfully. As long as you’re working together with the CPS, the case might get dismissed faster.
Sometimes the issue can be with the child’s education, medical care, or housing environment, such as there not being a bed for your child to sleep on or not enough clothes. In these cases, providing everything your child is lacking will greatly help your case.
CPS Case Duration
There isn’t a fixed duration for CPS cases as each case is different from the other, but the time period should go as follows:
Investigations will last for around 30 to 45 days. Afterward, the case will either be dismissed or will continue on to court.
Once the court gets into the picture, the case can take months or sometimes years to be settled.
2. Adversary Hearing
In around half a month, in the adversary hearing, the court will be deciding whether your child should be kept with you or be taken by CPS temporarily.
3. Status Hearing
By the end of the month, there will be a status hearing to determine the child’s state and where they’ll be staying from now on.
4. Initial Permanency Hearing
At the 180 days mark, the court will start an initial permanency hearing where they’ll decide if your child will be staying with you or a relative.
They’ll be assessing whether the current living conditions of the child are suitable for them to remain or if they should be changed.
Every 120 days after that, the court will repeat the same process with assessing your child’s living environment and whether you’ve been following their suggestions or not.
5. Final Hearing / Dismissal of Trial
After a year has passed, the court will decide whether to leave your child with you and close the case or to give custody to a relative.
They may also sever your child-parent relationship, but this is only in extreme cases where the parents haven’t shown any attempts at improving for their child.
What Happens During a CPS Case and How to Deal With It
As mentioned above, a CPS case goes through many stages, from investigations to multiple court hearings regarding your kid’s state and the living conditions around them.
The entire situation can be quite overwhelming, especially if it doesn’t get resolved quickly and it takes months to reach a verdict.
However, you’ll need to be strong to get through it. During a case, you’ll need to provide enough evidence to prove that there haven’t been any acts of violence or neglect towards your kids.
You can provide documents showing their medical history, education history, or simply allow the CPS to freely talk to your child without interrupting.
Never neglect or ignore any meeting with the CPS or with the court. Always make time and don’t miss any hearings. Be sure to hire a lawyer if the case was taken to court.
In case your child was taken away, call and check up on them every day whenever you can. This will make your love and worry over your child apparent to the CPS.
Will the CPS Inform Me If The Case Was Closed?
Yes. They usually send you a letter to inform you that the case has been closed. You can also check with the CPS yourself to see if the case is still open or not.
Can I Appeal A CPS Court Verdict?
Yes, you can appeal. You’ll need to provide evidence to support your case, and it’s better to have your lawyer represent it for you.
Even though a CPS visit can be a scary situation to be put in, as long as you’re showing that you’re cooperative and willing to provide a safe place for your child, your case won’t be opened for long.
Simply following their instructions and changing anything in the environment that they pointed out should be enough to provide a safe and comfortable life for you and your child.