If you are being investigated by Child Protection Services, it may feel like your whole world is falling apart.
However, now is not the time to go to pieces. Now is the time to take action.
Although it can be a tough pill to swallow, you need to know that it is up to you to prove your innocence rather than them to prove your guilt.
Fortunately, there are steps that you can take to help get your kids back sooner rather than later.
- Ask for specifics
The first thing you need to do is find out exactly what it is that you are being accused of. Social workers are known for keeping their cards close to their chests and may only give you a vague idea of why they are investigating you.
Don’t settle for this. You are entitled to know exactly what you are being accused of, so make sure they tell you.
- Don’t talk to anyone
Although your natural instinct may be to share what has happened to you with family and friends, this is not a good idea.
You don’t know who the CPS have spoken to or who they plan to speak to, so your best course of action is to stay quiet. In fact, the only person you should speak to is an attorney.
- Hire an attorney
Continuing on from the above, the moment you become aware that you are being investigated by the CPS, you need to get in contact with an attorney who has experience in fighting CPS cases.
Do not make the mistake of thinking that you can fight this alone or that it will all go away on its own. In most cases, it won’t, so you need someone who knows the system fighting your corner.
Also, make sure that you hire an attorney who has experience in defending cases within your state’s jurisdiction, as what CPS can and cannot do in Texas is different from what they can and cannot do in New York.
- Stay calm and be polite
Although this may be the last thing that you feel like doing, if you do get a knock on your door from a social worker, then you need to stay calm and be polite.
You may be surprised at what they will try to use against you if your case goes to court. For example, a display of anger could indicate that you are a violent or abusive parent.
- Don’t let them in
Not everybody knows this, but if a social worker asks to come into your home, you are not legally obliged to let them. In fact, unless they have a warrant or a court order, you are well within your rights to politely tell them no.
If they say that they have a warrant or court order, then ask to see a copy. Do not be palmed off with any excuses. Yes, they will probably be annoyed, but that is not your concern.
- Never admit guilt
No matter how much pressure they put you under or how much evidence they say that they have against you, never admit guilt.
There have been many cases where social workers have offered leniency in exchange for an admission of guilt, with high-pressure tactics often used. Don’t let them scare you into admitting something that you have not done.