What Are My Rights during a CPS Investigation?

What are my rights with CPS?

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Brett Pritchard Law

Updated August 23, 2022

If you are being investigated by Child Protective Services (CPS), you need to understand your rights during the investigation. Most parents do not know what to expect during CPS investigations, and many do not know what CPS caseworkers can and cannot do when conducting a home inspection.

Obviously, the worst thing that can happen as a result of a CPS investigation is a caseworker taking your children away. To prevent this from happening, it is best to contact a Copperas Cove CPS lawyer as soon as you become aware of an ongoing CPS investigation or a possible home inspection visit.

What Are Parents’ Rights During CPS Investigations?

It is important that a parent understands their rights during CPS home visits. These are the most fundamental rights that you can exercise during a CPS investigation:

Fifth Amendment Right

Anything you say to a CPS caseworker can be used against you or could even become grounds to take your kids away from you. If you are being investigated by CPS and a caseworker starts asking you questions, you can exercise your right to remain silent by politely telling the investigator that you do not want to answer.

Fourth Amendment Right

If a CPS caseworker arrives at your home and asks to come inside, you have a right to refuse. Once the caseworker is inside, they will inspect your home for unsafe conditions and collect evidence against you. Fortunately, you can invoke your Fourth Amendment right to prevent the investigator from getting inside your home.

The only situation in which CPS caseworkers do not need your consent to enter your property is when they have a search warrant, when there is an emergency, or when the child is in immediate danger.

If you refuse to let the caseworker in, it is a good idea to bring your children to the door so that the caseworker can do a quick visual check.

What Can Child Protective Services (CPS) Legally Do during an Investigation?

CPS investigators have several rights they can exercise when they show up for a home visit. If you let them in, or if they lawfully enter your property without your consent (using a search warrant, court order, or any exigent circumstances), they can legally do the following things:

They Can Investigate False Claims

Do not be surprised if a CPS caseworker comes to your house after a false or completely preposterous claim has been made. Child Protective Services must investigate and take all claims and anonymous tips seriously. That’s their job.

However, you have a right to know the claims that triggered the investigation. (Learn what to do if you are falsely accused of child abuse.)

They Can Make an Unannounced Visit

CPS investigators are not required to give you notice before their home visit. In most cases, social workers show up unannounced when you least expect it.

While you may know that a CPS investigation is underway, you may not know exactly when a caseworker will arrive for a home inspection. If you are aware of an ongoing investigation, it is in your best interest to contact a Copperas Cove CPS lawyer to protect your rights and to prevent social workers from taking your children.

They Can Talk to Your Children, Even If You Do Not Want Them To

CPS social workers do not need your permission to talk to your children alone, especially if you are being accused of child abuse or sexual assault. To learn more about what CPS will ask your children, read “Can Child Protective Services (CPS) Talk to My Children?

They Can Ask Invasive and Uncomfortable Questions

During a CPS investigation, you might notice that some of the caseworker’s questions are a little too uncomfortable or invasive, and some might not even be relevant to the allegations made against you. However, CPS social workers can lawfully ask any questions as long as they are not discriminatory.

Before answering a caseworker’s questions, keep in mind that your answers will not be confidential. Anything you say during an investigation will be used against you. That is why it is critical to consult with your attorney before answering CPS questions.

If English is not your native language, you can exercise your right to have an interpreter.

They Can Take Your Children Away from You

CPS caseworkers can lawfully remove your children from your home if they determine your house, you, or a member of your household to be an immediate threat to your kids. However, CPS investigators take children away from parents only as a last resort.

CPS can ask the court to terminate your parental rights. If you do not want this to happen, it is essential to speak with a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible.

Contact Our Copperas Cove CPS Lawyers for a Free Consultation

CPS investigations should be taken very seriously. Since undergoing a CPS investigation may never have been in your plans, it is vital to have a lawyer on your side to help you fight this battle.

Our Copperas Cove CPS lawyers can protect your rights and help you make a good impression during a CPS investigation. Discuss the following questions when speaking with an attorney:

Our skilled attorneys at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard are prepared to answer these and many other questions that you may have if a CPS investigation is ongoing or if you believe that a caseworker may come to your house in the near future. Receive a FREE, no-obligation consultation by calling us at (254) 781-4222 or contacting us online today.

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