How Long Does a Child Protective Services (CPS) Investigation Take and Why?
Posted on April 28th, 2021 in Family Law
Child Protective Services (CPS) is a branch in each state’s social services, available to the public to help investigate and ensure the safety of children from harmful caregivers. They are responsible for investigating reports of child abuse, whether it be physical, sexual, or neglectful in nature. They have several different names depending on the state, and in the Keystone State, the branch is called the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services.
Their focus is on protecting the child, or children, in question, and would prefer to remove the abuser from home rather than the child. Removing a child from the home is considered a last resort or an extreme to keep the child safe.
Depending on the nature and validity of a child abuse claim, a CPS investigation can take up to 30 days. If it takes longer, it should be completed within 60 days with documentation as to why.
What Does CPS Do?
The first thing CPS wants to do is determine if your ex, partner, or another adult living in the home has abused or neglected your child. A CPS investigation will commonly entail an assessment of the living conditions the child is in. Their job is to protect your child from any danger they may be in while they investigate.
They’ll document and record any evidence of abuse, and use that to decide if there have been instances of abuse. If they identify and confirm instances of abuse, they will decide what interventions are needed to keep your child safe. They will decide if there is a need for ongoing familial support, and/or if child custody needs to be removed from your potential abuser.
If they decide no, but you disagree, this is where you want representation. Evidence from the investigation can be used by an experienced legal firm to gain you protective custody of your child, and to protect yourself from any counterclaims of abuse.
Why CPS Investigations Take Time
Most abuse happens behind closed doors. It is highly unlikely that abuse to your child will occur in front of CPS investigators, so they will spend time searching the home for evidence, examining the controlled interactions with your child, and looking for any signs of previous abuse.
They will also take your child’s testimony into account to assess whether they have been abused unknowingly, or have been manipulated into not speaking out.
None of this can be done in a matter of hours, or even days in most cases. To be thorough and accurate, they spend days upon weeks to learn whether or not your child is in an environment that is not safe for them.
After Calling CPS, Get Legal Help
Every parent’s first and foremost concern should be the safety of your child. If you believe that your ex may be abusing your child, whether it be physically, sexually, or through neglect, you’ll likely make the call as soon as possible. In addition, if CPS is called to investigate abuse claims within your home, you likely have many questions about your rights as a parent.
At the same time, family law is no simple thing. When it comes to protecting your child from an abusive ex or someone in the household, you need to be prepared to protect your child and yourself. Once the accusation has been made, the abuser is likely to fight it and make accusations themself.
You need someone, like Attorney Craig Kalinoski, to help you protect your rights, so you can protect your child. Contact our office for a free consultation.