CPS then begins an investigation, which it has 60 days to complete. The investigation usually begins with a visit to your home by a CPS caseworker, who will be assessing the safety of the child named in the report and any other children living in your household.
If the caseworker feels that the children are in immediate danger, he or she may remove the children from your care.
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However, whenever CPS removes your children and does not return them to your care that same day, it is required by law to immediately file a neglect petition against you in Family Court. Once a neglect petition is filed, the matter is overseen by a judge, who determines where the children should be placed until the neglect petition is resolved.
If you feel that your children have been wrongly removed, you may petition the Family Court for an immediate return. However, before filing for a return of child, you should weigh your options carefully with your attorney, since you may only have one opportunity to seek an immediate return while the neglect petition is pending, and you may not want to waste it if the odds of return are unlikely at that stage of the proceeding.
In the course of its investigation, CPS may offer you or your child referrals for services, such as counseling, therapy, training courses for parents and guardians, etc. CPS has no legal authority to force you or your child to receive any services, and by law must advise you of that fact. However, if it feels that services are necessary and you are unwilling to cooperate voluntarily, it may file a neglect petition in Family Court for a determination that your child is in need of care and protection.
Regardless of whether a petition is filed in Family Court, CPS must still determine whether the initial allegations of suspected abuse or maltreatment as reported to the SCR should be indicated or unfounded. This determination occurs regardless of the status of any Family Court filings. Just because a CPS report is indicated does not mean that a neglect petition will be filed in Family Court, that you will be charged with anything criminal or that your children will be taken away. The registry is not a public database, so unlike other databases like the sex offender registry, it cannot be accessed by friends, neighbors, family members, etc.
The registry is only accessible by certain authorized individuals and agencies. Most commonly, registry checks are performed when someone applies for a job seeking to work with children. And, in child custody proceedings, the courts are required to perform registry checks. Simply being on the registry does not automatically preclude you from being around children. It most likely means you will be required to explain the circumstances of the indicated report to either your prospective employer or the court, as the case may be.
If you are unhappy with the outcome, you may appeal the determination. You should keep the determination letter in a safe place, in case you ever need it at a later date to show that the investigation was unfounded. Generally, the local Department of Social Services the agency in which CPS is housed will only file a neglect petition against you in Family Court if CPS has removed your children or determines that your children need to be temporarily removed from your care, or if you are being uncooperative with CPS.
It is important to note that a neglect proceeding in Family Court is not a criminal proceeding. If the abuse or neglect you are alleged to have committed is severe enough to warrant criminal charges e. So what does happen in Family Court? Paula Carrasquillo. Why Me? You Can Adopt. Susan Caughman. Fetal Abduction. Anne Speckhard.
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