Child Protective Services was created with good intentions: to remove children from dangerous and abusive households. However, as with any program of this nature, innocent parents often find themselves being investigated by CPS and accused of neglect or abuse. How can you, as a parent, fight back if you’ve been wrongly accused?
Do Not Let CPS Officials in Without a Warrant
If Child Protective Services knocks on your front door, do not let them in without a warrant. Remember, they are not law enforcement officials, and you are not required to let them into your home by law. Let them know that they cannot enter your home without a warrant.
If CPS was called to your home based on an anonymous tip, there’s a good chance that a judge won’t sign off on an arrest warrant. A call from a nurse, teacher or medical professional will hold more weight, and the judge may sign off on a warrant in this case.
Always remember: unless the CPS agent shows up with a police officer and a search warrant, they have no right to enter your home without your permission. You are not under any obligation to let them into your home. Their primary goal will be to collect evidence against you.
Say as Little as Possible
If CPS shows up at your door, your first instinct may be to defend yourself, and clarify that you are not a danger to your child. However, it’s better to say as little as possible as anything that you say can be twisted and used against you.
Again, you are under no obligation to answer any of their questions, and you certainly do not want to volunteer any information. Even details that you view as being positive can be misinterpreted and used in a negative manner.
Contact an Attorney
If you’re being falsely accused by Child Protective Services, contact an attorney who has experience with these types of cases. An attorney will protect your rights, and ensure that CPS is following proper protocols. If CPS insists on an interview, you can ensure that your attorney is there to guide you through it, and that the meeting takes place in the attorney’s office.
Oftentimes, CPS agents want to speak with children alone. Do not give them permission to speak to your children without your attorney being present. Also, consider having your attorney send a written letter to your child’s school forbidding interviews with CPS agents.
Force CPS to Prove Their Case
Ultimately, the burden of proof falls on CPS, and it will be their responsibility to prove that the accusations against you are true. By allowing them into your home, volunteering information and allowing them to speak to your child privately, you are giving them ample opportunities to gather evidence against you.
Consult with an attorney on the best course of action to take. Your attorney may recommend forcing CPS to prove their case in court during trial. However, in most cases of false accusation, the case can be settled quickly by following the advice of your attorney.
The Micklin Law Group, LLC is a New Jersey law firm specializing in family law and estates. Attorney Brad Micklin was recently named to The National Advocates list of Top 100 attorneys from each state. To set up a consultation, call 973-562-0100.