As a parent, it may seem scary knowing that Child Protective Services (CPS) can determine the outcome of your family situation. While CPS does have the power to investigate you and your family, they do have to abide by certain rules and guidelines. For parents, it is important to know your rights when you are being investigated. Continue reading to find out what CPS can and cannot do in California.
What CPS Can Do
Talk to Your Child Without Permission
Many parents are surprised that CPS workers can talk to a child without your permission or your presence. In fact, this is quite common, especially if the allegations against you are serious. This attempts to prevent guilty parents from coaching or threatening their kids into making false claims to protect the abusers.
Show Up to Your Home Without Notice
CPS workers may also show up to your house unannounced. In many cases, parents may expect a CPS visit at some point, but they may not know the exact date. In cases with abusive or violent allegations, the visit may be completely unannounced in order to prevent parents from getting rid of any incriminating evidence or coaching their children beforehand.
Investigate Every Claim, Even If It’s False
Even if a claim is false or taken out of context, it is the responsibility of CPS to investigate every claim and take each one seriously. Mandated reporters such as doctors, teachers, and therapists can be held legally responsible if they fail to report any suspected child abuse. CPS must then investigate every substantial report. While this may be frustrating, parents have a right to know every claim that is made in the investigation.
Terminate Your Parental Rights
If CPS ultimately determines that your home is not a safe environment for your child, they have the right to remove your child from your custody and terminate your parental rights. This is usually a last resort option for extreme circumstances. If you feel that your parental rights have been threatened, contact an experienced family law attorney as soon as possible to see if there are any solutions or alternatives to having your child taken away from you.
What CPS Can’t Do
Enter Your Home Without Permission
Although CPS workers may also show up to your house without notice, they cannot legally force their way into your home. They must have your explicit permission before entering. However, if they have a court order or believe that a child is in imminent danger, the CPS workers do not have to abide by this rule.
Force You to Take a Drug Test
Similarly, CPS cannot force you to take a drug test without your consent. In order to secure a drug test from you, they need a court order. If a CPS worker tries to perform a drug test on you, you may decline and state that they need a court order.
Contact Wallin & Klarich Today
If you and your family are being investigated by CPS, contact our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich as soon as possible to see how we can help. With 40+ years of experience, Wallin & Klarich is your best choice amongst Southern California criminal defense firms. Our attorneys have helped thousands of clients in a wide range of family law cases, and we have the skills and resources to clear your name and prevent you from losing your parental rights.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, Torrance, West Covina, Los Angeles, and San Diego, you are sure to find an available and convenient attorney near you.
Discover how our team can assist you. Contact us today, toll-free at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free consultation with a skilled defense attorney.