What Happens When Child Protective Services Gets Involved?

For some, the mere thought of a family being broken apart is enough to inspire the worst of nightmares. It is a common misconception that an investigation by child protective services (CPS) immediately leads to such circumstances; in truth, a call or visit from CPS does not hold a guarantee for anything until the situation is studied carefully.

Your rights

First and foremost, a CPS investigation will never infringe on your rights as a parent. Be sure to ask for as many details on the case as can be provided, as well as time to consult with an attorney. Technically, CPS has no special right to enter your home without your permission and cannot obtain search warrants. That being said, cooperation can go a long way, both in helping along the process and paving the way for civil interaction.

The investigation process

Simply put, the process that CPS employs in any investigative inquiry is infamously thorough. The reason being that no matter the claim, every child has a right to live in a safe and comfortable environment. Investigations from CPS can vary from a single conversation to clear up an issue or claim, to an in-depth study of a home situation. The main thing to remember is that CPS is obligated to look into every claim presented, no matter how likely or otherwise it might appear at first glance.

As such, CPS may ask you or your child questions that seem completely unrelated to the case at hand; if that happens, try not to worry. The allegation presented may be false, but the organization is obligated to be there and ensure each child’s happiness in other areas, too. These further inquiries could lead to the discovery of something else going on at home (in which case CPS will act accordingly to rectify the situation), or nothing at all. Patience is key on both sides, as well as total honesty.

The length of time dedicated to each investigation is of course unable to be determined beforehand given the variable nature of the possible claims. However, with any pursuit of inquiry, CPS has a procedure to follow and will keep you apprised as much as possible. In this stage of the proceedings, an attorney would be an invaluable asset in walking you through each unique set of challenges or steps presented as the investigation progressed.

The NC Child Protective Services program strives to ensure safe, permanent, nurturing families for children by protecting them from abuse and neglect while attempting to preserve the family unit. If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, contact your county department of social services. And you don’t have to endure the proceedings alone; Wentz Law is a valuable consultation and representation resource here in North Carolina. Contact us today if you’re in need of an experienced attorney.

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