Don’t Be Intimated By the CPS Investigation Process

Parents are meant to love and care for their children. It’s one of the biggest commitments we make in life, and when anything gets in the way of that commitment it can be demoralizing.

Some parents get intimidated by the process of a Child Protective Services (CPS) investigation. We want to reassure you that this process is just a necessary step to protect your children, even if you are the one who is under investigation for alleged violence or drug or alcohol-related incidents. There are certain steps you should take and actions you need to consider to avoid making the investigation worse for you and your family and to ensure you don’t risk losing child custody in Alabama.

Cooperate With CPS Officials

You often do not immediately know when a CPS investigation has been opened against you. Some parents don’t know until someone with CPS contacts them to ask for information and ask to meet with them about the circumstances.

When you receive this call, it is imperative to respond promptly and act cordially. If you lash out or respond in a defensive manner this could raise some red flags. Saying the wrong thing could cost you time or a future with your child.

Understand an “Investigation” is Not a “Case”

You are not in trouble just because there is an investigation taking place. Opening an investigation is not the same as opening a case by CPS terms. If the investigation goes well and you don’t make the wrong move or say the wrong thing then a case may never be opened.

This is important to understand because having a case opened against you can lead to harsher penalties and less leeway in the future. Focus on the investigation at hand instead of worrying about what an actual case would mean for you.

Respect The Initial Safety Plan

Officials may order you and your family to follow an initial “safety plan” while the investigation takes place. This may mean you have to stay away from your home or are unable to speak with or see your children without supervision. You cannot afford to violate this plan.

CPS isn’t putting this plan in place because they assume you are a danger to your child. They are doing this because they were given reason to believe you may be. A safety plan is not a presumption of guilt – it is just a precaution. If there are accusations of violence in the home then a safety plan is almost guaranteed to be put in place.

Speak to an Attorney

As soon as you possibly can, you should contact an attorney in regard to the investigation. It is advised that you talk to an attorney before you ever tell CPS anything. You can set a later meeting date with officials and then meet with your attorney in the meantime which allows you to prepare the best defense that secures your time and custody of your child.

We want to make sure your investigation never turns into an actual case or risks your custodial rights. Our goal is to keep you and your family out of juvenile dependency court. If you have been contacted by CPS in Alabama, contact our office right away.

John M. Totten