What to Expect During a CPS Investigation in California

Serving Clients Throughout Sonoma, Mendocino, Lake, and Napa Counties

Bringing a child into this world is a long-term commitment that ideally lasts the rest of our lives. We want to be there through the highs and lows of their growth into adulthood. Unfortunately, circumstances change and sometimes parents have to defend their right to be a part of their children’s lives.

The team at Carroll Law Office has the experience and know-how to handle juvenile dependency cases. We understand firsthand the importance of being there for your children and the processes by which families are torn apart. We’ve been a part of the fight to retain or return parental rights to our clients.

When you’re under investigation by Child Protective Services (CPS), it’s important to know what to expect so you can prepare yourself for what’s to come. This investigation will be the difference between potentially never seeing your child again and regaining the right to be a part of their growing life.

Multiple Interviews

CPS plays a vital role in protecting children from dangerous situations. When an investigation is ongoing, it’s their job to ascertain any details and hints of what danger may be present in the child’s life. Officials will want to speak with you, your child, and, in some cases, people close to you. It’s important to work with officials to set appointments and be on time for any interviews that are set up.

In many cases where you’re not being investigated, you can deny CPS the right to talk to your child. However, when you’re the one under investigation there’s little to nothing you can do to prevent this.

Our children may not understand their questioning and may say things out of context that paint us in a negative light. Be ready for this and prepare to calmly address any information your child shares with investigators.

When it comes to interviewing other individuals, you should give CPS the contact information for any individuals who can support your character. It’s important to notify these acquaintances that you’ve provided their information to CPS so this doesn’t blindside them. The earlier CPS has this information the earlier they can interview the people who will help you uphold your character.

Access to Your Child’s Records

Another portion of the investigation will be officials obtaining records such as school records, medical records, and other documents necessary to conduct the investigation. If you have any documentation that supports your case, you should provide these documents to officials early on.

These records can draw a roadmap to the alleged incident(s) and the impact on your child. You should take steps to get ahead of this by considering any evidence that may be available in those records

Physical Examination of Your Child

One of the unfortunate aspects of a CPS investigation is the way in which children can be retraumatized by the examinations necessary to gather evidence. Your child will undergo medical evaluations that can be intimidating for them depending on the circumstances.

There aren’t any steps you can take to mitigate this situation, but you can be there for your child if CPS hasn’t blocked you from seeing them. Comfort them and let them know these people are only intending to keep them safe.

Home Investigation

You have no obligation to allow CPS into your home. If officials ask to look around your home, they’re doing so to see if your home is a safe environment for your child. It can look suspicious to deny them access, but you need to consider what they may or may not find inside.

It’s important to plan for this and make sure your home appears safe. This means cleaning any clutter and removing any drugs or alcohol. Officials don’t have the right to turn your home upside down, though, so if this happens you should speak with your attorney immediately.

It’s important to have the right attorney by your side during this time. Carroll Law Offices can help you prepare for a CPS investigation and get your child back. If you’re facing an investigation, contact our team to prepare you for what’s to come.

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