Parental Rights in A CPS Investigation

Posted on June 10th, 2020 in Child Custody/Support

If Child Protective Services is called on a tip that something is going on in your home, you have a legitimate reason to be concerned. While your primary concern will be keeping your family together, this is ultimately going to result in a hearing in many cases as the welfare of your child is put into question. But know that you do not need to represent yourself. In fact, it is encouraged that you seek representation to protect your parental rights.

Why Child Protective Services May Be Called

Many individuals think that Child Protective Services (CPS) is the same as calling the cops when something happens to a child. However, CPS is not an arresting authority, rather, they have the ability to seek legal action. They cannot just take action without merit.

But there are reasons why CPS may be called. The three most common reasons are:

  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Neglect

However, it is not enough for someone just to think this may be going on. In order for CPS to do anything, they need evidence or a record of repeated behaviors that prompt further investigation.

Will my child be taken away? – Know Your Parental Rights

The fear that your child or children will be removed from your care after a call from CPS. Most likely, that is not going to happen after one call. In fact, Pennsylvania CPS is only allowed to remove a child from their home in extreme circumstances. In order to do so, there must be a valid court order based on evidence that the child is in immediate danger.

However, some public services are permitted to remove a child from a home without a court order. The police, a hospital or medical facility director, or doctor, has the right to place your child into protective custody without the court order if there is evidence of imminent danger or, there is the likelihood of arrest to you or another adult responsible for the child’s care.

What happens if they do take my child?

In most situations, if your child is removed from your custody during the investigation, you have a right to request your child is placed in the care of a relative or family friend. Known as kinship care, CPS must make a reasonable effort to place your child with one of these family connections. You can provide CPS with possible adults’ names and contact information as well. 

However, if this type of placement is not possible, your child will be placed in foster care or a residential facility where they will still be able to attend school unless that is not in the child’s best interest.

In addition, you as the parent are entitled to visitation and phone calls with your child, unless judge orders determine otherwise. 

Right to Appeal

If the court finds the child abuse accusations are true, you still have a right to appeal, especially if you had not worked with a lawyer in the beginning. In addition to appealing, you may be able to create a family service plan in order to regain custody of your child or children. In most cases, you have one year to put the family plan into effect and show that you have made real changes before the child is able to return.

Parental Rights in A CPS Investigation: Kalinoski Law Offices, P.C.

When Child Protective Services is called, you are likely scared and confused. You may worry you’ll never see your child again. But you do not have to fight this alone. At Kalinoski Law Offices, P.C., we will work with you during the CPS investigation to see how we can make the outcome more favorable for you, and safe for your child. Contact our office today to schedule a free consultation.

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