Each month I receive phone calls from alarmed parents who have learned that they or their children are the focus of a CPS investigation. I also receive phone calls from parents or concerned relatives who inquire as to the consequences of filing a report with CPS.
Child Protective Services (CPS) is an Arizona agency mandated under ARS §8-802 for the protection of children alleged to be abused and neglected. “Alleged” is a very important term, and every allegation of abuse or neglect must be investigated by CPS. While most allegations are ultimately dismissed as unfounded or unsubstantiated after a brief interview with the parents and/or the child, other allegations are in fact substantiated. Once it is determined that a child is indeed at risk of abuse or neglect, CPS can take immediate action. For instance, CPS can perform emergency interventions, such as removing a child from a home when the home environment poses an eminent risk of harm to the child. CPS may also become involved in cases where neither parent is unfit or inappropriate, such as in cases where the child may have special needs or may be so seriously troubled as to be “out of control.”
CPS cases involving substantiated claims of child abuse or neglect, or cases where CPS has determined that a parent is unable to meet a child’s “special needs,” are fraught with potentially far-reaching consequences. If you have questions or concerns about a pending CPS interview or other matter involving CPS, it would be wise to contact an experienced family law attorney to help you navigate these potentially very troubled waters.