What Does Child Protective Services (CPS) Look for When Inspecting a Home?

Parents on opposite sides of their child, holding their child’s hands.

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 are concerned about issues related to custody, call us today to speak with a Copperas Cove child protective services lawyer.

What Does CPS Look for During a Home Visit?

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

  1. Is 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 to protect yourself and prevent the agency from removing your child. Our attorneys will provide you with the reasons CPS may take your child from home.

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. Call me today to schedule your FREE consultation call in person, over the phone, or video call.

Things a CPS Caseworker Will Look for When Inspecting Your Home

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 the kids.

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

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

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

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

  • Smell. 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 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 and fall & trip and fall hazards. Your home should be free of clutter, loose rugs, secured wires, slippery surfaces, and other slip or trip and 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 wiring and electrical parts in the house.

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

  • 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. Other safety hazards that may catch the CPS worker’s attention are broken appliances, malfunctioning utilities (or lack thereof), shattered glass, stairs without gates, mold, gas leaks, and others.

Sleeping arrangements

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

  • Bunk beds. If your children are sleeping in bunk beds, they should have railings on both sides to prevent falls.

  • Top bunks. It is not safe for children under the age of six years to sleep in a top bunk.

  • Opposite-sex children. If you have a boy and girl, they must sleep in separate bedrooms at ages five and older.


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

  • Ammunition. Ammunition should be stored separately from the firearm.

Alcohol & drugs

  • Illegal drugs. There should not be any illicit drugs and substances in the house. 

  • Prescription and over-the-counter medications. Medicine should be stored in a locked cabinet out of sight and reach of children.

  • Alcohol. 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 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 Belton to find out what CPS may look for when inspecting your home.

Reach out to The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard to discuss your situation. Call 254-501-4040 for a free case evaluation.


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