5 Things You Should Do During a CYS InvestigationPublished: Jul 28, 2017 in CPS Investigations
Written by Anthony Piccirilli
One of a parent’s worst nightmares is to have the Pennsylvania Office of Children, Youth and Family Services (CYS), often called child protective services (CPS), show up on their doorstep. As a mom or dad, you do the best you can daily, but like any parent, you are not perfect. You feed, clothe, educate, and love your child, so you know there is no reasonable basis to investigate how you are raising your son or daughter. However, unfortunately, that does not stop others from making assumptions and accusations.
If you are a parent facing allegations of child abuse or neglect, do not panic. This can be a long and difficult process. But remember, you will be provided an opportunity to prove your innocence and keep your family intact. The first step is to call a highly-skilled and dedicated Pittsburgh CYS attorney with Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC at (412) 471-5100 for a free, in-depth consultation.
5 Things You Should Do During a Pennsylvania CYS Investigation
If you understand that you are under investigation by social services, take these five steps:
- Cooperate with CYS personnel.
Even when you know the allegations of child abuse or neglect are entirely false, you should not be dismissive to social service workers or try to impede their investigation. Social service workers take any and all allegations of abuse or neglect very seriously and will be looking for any sign that something is wrong in your home. By cooperating with them, you demonstrate that you have nothing to hide and that you are more than willing to provide evidence of your child’s safety and health. However, cooperating with CYS or the police without protecting your rights can be dangerous.
- Contact a Pittsburgh CYS/CPS attorney.
Just because you know you are not guilty of abuse or neglect does not mean you can get through a CYS investigation without legal advice or protection. Once you have a visit from social services, immediately contact a domestic attorney with experience in CYS investigations like at Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC. We can help you cooperate with CYS or the police while not saying too much or giving out more information than is necessary. These types of investigations can feel intensive and invasive. We will help you protect your privacy and reputation as much as possible.
- Protect your child.
CYS will likely want to talk with your child. However, children can be misled and what they say can be heavily misconstrued. To protect your child, be sure your son or daughter is never interrogated without another adult present and ask that any time social services questions your child, it is recorded. During any legal proceedings, you can ask that a guardian ad litem be appointed to represent your child’s best interests.
- Have independent medical evaluations conducted.
If you are accused of physical abuse, neglect, or emotional abuse, have your child examined by a physician and/or mental health professional who is willing to provide documentation or testimony of your child’s health and well-being. Do not go to doctors recommended by CYS as these may be physicians who regularly testify on behalf of social services.
- Speak with relatives.
With any CYS investigation, there is a risk that the authorities will attempt to remove your child from your home. If CYS has a warrant to do so, you will not be able to stop this at the time. However, as a parent, you have the right to request that your son or daughter go to a relative or close family friends’ home and not foster care. When you know you are under investigation, speak with some of your family members about who may be able to care for your child for a period of time. This ensures everyone is prepared and you are able to reduce the potential trauma to your child.
Let Our Pennsylvania CYS Lawyers Help You
At Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC, we believe CYS carries out essential work within our community. There is no greater commitment than protecting Pennsylvania’s children; however, accusations are not always true and social services workers are not always right. You and your child deserve protection from misinterpretations, cynical points of view, and government overreach. We offer that protection.