Child Protective Services Investigation
4 Things You Need to Know If You Are Involved in a Child Protective Services Investigation
Parents and guardians want to do the best job they can to rear and support their children. As such, receiving a notice that Child Protective Services (CPS) is about to conduct an investigation can shock any parent. If you learn that CPS has named you as a subject of an investigation, you may feel stunned, bewildered, fearful, or even incensed. You must remain calm, though. If you find yourself in this situation, bear these guidelines in mind in order to take care of yourself during CPS’s review.
Download Our Free Divorce Guide
1. This Notice Does Not Mean That Charges Have Been Filed Against You.
You are not believed to have committed child abuse just because you were named as the subject of an investigation. It is perfectly likely that no abuse or neglect has occurred at all. Child Protective Services has a commitment to the public, and its responsibilities entail investigating to ensure that all children are treated appropriately and fairly by their parents or guardians.
2. You Are Mandated to Cooperate with CPS.
The Department of Social Services is able to invoke adverse inference if you do not comply with its inquiry, which can create complications if the investigation were to lead to a trial. Adverse inference entails that the jury could conclude that your refusal to cooperate stemmed from the existence of potential incriminating evidence. A repercussion such as this far outweighs any hesitation about complying with the investigation.
3. You Have the Power to Appeal an Indication.
If you feel you have been wrongfully indicated in an investigation, there is one chief measure you must take in order to dispute the decision: you must reply to your indication letter. Contact the Office of Child and Family Services in a letter of your own, include the ID and case numbers, and request that your indication be reevaluated, overturned, and designated as unfounded. An administrative review will immediately proceed, and you may find your indication dropped soon afterwards.
4. If Your Appeal Fails, the Fair Hearing Process Is Your Best Bet.
You have the opportunity to speak directly with an administrative law judge and demonstrate that the indication levied against you by CPS was unjustified or done in error. The Department of Social Services will, of course, also appear during the process and present evidence to the contrary, and the department’s representative will testify before you do. Once the department has concluded its presentation, you will be granted the freedom to counter the department’s allegations.
Child Protective Services will work tirelessly and closely to make certain that all the children it oversees are cared for by their parents or legal guardians. If you are implicated in an investigation, even if the investigation is unfounded, you are compelled to allow CPS to conduct its review in its entirety. If the investigation results in a judgment that you feel is unwarranted, our family law attorneys in Albany can guide you through the steps you must take to appeal the allegation.