What Child Protective Services Looks for When Inspecting a Home

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Brett Pritchard Law

Updated on August 22, 2022

If you have become aware of an ongoing Child Protective Services (CPS) investigation after your neighbor or any other concerned person called CPS, you may be unsure about what happens next.

If a report has been made to CPS, the agency’s caseworker will make an unannounced visit to your home within 48 hours.

The mere thought of a complete stranger coming to your home and taking your children away from you is terrifying. For this reason, it is critical to be prepared for the CPS home visit and know what a CPS investigator will look for when inspecting your home.

If you believe a CPS home visit will be happening in your future, or if you are concerned about issues related to custody, call us today to speak with a Copperas Cove child protective services lawyer.

What CPS Looks for During a Home Visit

CPS caseworkers are trained to look for anything that could be used against you. A CPS investigator will keep the following questions in mind during a home inspection:

  1. Is there enough healthy food in the house?

  2. Is food readily available to your children?

  3. What are the sleeping arrangements for the kids?

  4. Do the children have plenty of clothes?

  5. How clean is the house?

  6. Are there any safety hazards in the house?

  7. Are there any drugs, weapons, or chemicals left in the open?

Knowing what CPS investigators look for when evaluating a home will prepare you for the visit, allowing you to protect yourself and prevent the agency from removing your child.

If you are under investigation by CPS, or believe CPS will soon place you under investigation, the time to call a lawyer is now: we will help guide you through the process. Contact me today to schedule your FREE consultation.

Below is the list of things a Child Protective Services investigator will look for when visiting your home:


Sanitary Conditions

CPS will inspect the cleanliness of your house to ensure that your home has sanitary conditions for your kids.


It is a major red flag when a CPS caseworker finds human, animal, and rodent feces in the house.


The investigator will also look for insect and rodent infestation, so get rid of any cockroaches and other pests before the CPS visit.


Do not expect a CPS worker to ignore piles of trash in the house.


CPS will not be pleased about piles of dirty laundry scattered around the house.


The very first thing a CPS caseworker will notice during a home visit is the smell. Get rid of any unpleasant odors, including the smell of cigarette smoke, in the house.


Rotten Food

There should be no rotten, moldy, or spoiled food in the house if you want to make a good impression on CPS.

Healthy Foods

Food choices play a role, so make sure that your kitchen has plenty of healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables.

Availability of Food

Food must be readily available to your children, so make sure that your refrigerator, pantry, and cupboards are stocked with healthy food.

Knives and Other Sharp Dangerous Objects

Any knives, matches, razors, and other dangerous items within reach of your kids will definitely catch the CPS investigator’s attention.

Safety Hazards

Choking, Strangulation, Suffocation, and Poisoning Hazards

A CPS investigator will look for any objects or hazards that could cause choking, suffocation, strangulation, or poisoning, so it is vital to thoroughly inspect your home for those hazards before the CPS home visit.

Slip, Trip, and Fall Hazards

Your home should be free of clutter, loose rugs, secured wires, slippery surfaces, and other slip, trip, or fall hazards.

Electrical Hazards

Any electrical hazards are also a red flag for CPS during a home visit. Make sure that there are no exposed electrical parts or wiring in the house.

Burn Hazards

CPS will look for any hazards, including electrical equipment, chemicals, and thermal contact, that could result in burn injuries to a child.

Fire Hazards

Make sure that flammable items are far away from open flame in the house. A CPS investigator may also ask you if your house is equipped with smoke alarms.

Chemicals and Cleaning Products

While cleaning your house is good, household cleaners and other chemicals should be stored out of kids’ reach.

General Safety Hazards

Broken appliances, malfunctioning utilities (or the lack thereof), shattered glass, stairs without gates, mold, gas leaks, and other safety hazards may catch the CPS worker’s attention.

Sleeping Arrangements

Children Under 18 Months

Children under 18 months should sleep in a crib with no pillows, blankets, stuffed toys, or other materials.

Bunk Beds

If your children are sleeping in bunk beds, they should have railings on both sides to prevent falls. It is not safe for children under the age of 6 to sleep in a top bunk.

Opposite-Sex Children

If you have a boy and girl, they must sleep in separate bedrooms at ages 5 and older.


Guns and Weapons

If you possess any firearms or weapons, they should be stored unloaded and in a locked cabinet out of reach of children.


Ammunition should be stored separately from firearms.

Alcohol & Drugs

Illegal Drugs

There should not be any illicit drugs or substances in the house. (Read What Can I Do if Child Protective Services (CPS) Requires a Drug Test?)

Prescription and Over-the-Counter Medications

Medicine should be stored in a locked cabinet out of sight and reach of children.


Any alcohol in the house should be stored out of kids’ reach.


Swimming Pool

If you have a swimming pool in the backyard, it should have fencing to prevent younger children from drowning.

Road Safety

If your house is near the road, your property should have fencing to limit the play area of your children and to make sure that they stay away from the road.

Contact a Copperas Cove Child Protective Services Lawyer Today

It’s typically not a good idea to be adversarial with CPS workers. They are doing their job to make sure that your house is free of hazards and is appropriate for your children. However, it is crucial to be prepared ahead of the CPS home visit because you will not have a second chance to make a first impression.

It is advised to consult with a Copperas Cove child protective services attorney to protect your rights and childproof your house. Speak with our experienced CPS attorney in Copperas Cove, Texas, to discuss your situation and to find out what CPS may look for when inspecting your home. Call us at (254) 781-4222 or contact us online for a FREE case evaluation.

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