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Will I Have Custody of My Children During a CPS Investigation?

Published: Sep 10, 2018 in CPS Investigations
Scale and Gavel

Written by Anthony Piccirilli

If you and your spouse or co-parent are involved in a child protective services (CPS) investigation, chances are that the situation is not very pleasant. You are understandably most concerned about who will be taking care of your children. The good news is that just because a CPS agent is involved in your case, it does not necessarily mean your child is going to be removed from your care. CPS is only permitted to take your child into protective custody under particular circumstances. Also, if your child is taken, there are specific guidelines CPS must follow to make sure they go to a family member or someone who knows them well.

A CPS attorney will be able to best explain how your childcare investigation is going to progress. Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC can assist you with any issues regarding a CPS investigation in the Pittsburgh area. Our lawyers understand family law and can help you achieve the best possible outcome for everyone involved. Reach out to us online, or call (412) 471-5100 to schedule a free, confidential consultation today.

You Have a Right to Custody of Your Children, Even During an Investigation

The constitution grants parents certain rights when it comes to retaining custody of your child or children. These rights are not suspended just because someone accuses your parenting. A CPS investigation begins with an assessment by an agent, usually a social worker. While the agent is conducting their preliminary investigation, you may keep custody of your child. If the agent finds evidence of neglect or abuse during their investigation, their next move will be to file a complaint with a juvenile dependency court. There is a possibility during the court proceedings that your child will be placed in protective custody. Your attorney will be able to assess your risk of your child being removed from your care and instruct you on how to avoid it best.

When Can the CPS Remove My Child From My Care?

There are certain circumstances under which the CPS or the court can ignore your constitutional right and order your children to be removed from your custody. If the assessment done by the CPS agent indicates your child is in immediate danger, they may be placed into foster care. Even if there is no immediate danger found, if the CPS finds your child is at high risk of mistreatment in the future, they can have your child taken out of your custody.

What Happens If the CPS Removes My Child From My Custody?

If child services find evidence of immediate danger or likely future mistreatment, they are authorized to remove your child from your care and place them in protective custody. If they do remove your child, however, they likely won’t just put them with the first person they can find. The goal of CPS procedures is to achieve permanency or a stable environment for the child to live in. With this being the case, they will generally try and place your child with another relative or a godparent. It is essential to talk to your attorney, so you know your rights during this process.

CPS Removal is Not Necessarily Final

If the CPS determines during their investigation that your child needs to be placed in protective custody, it does not mean you will lose your child permanently. After removal, you will need to work with either the court or the child services agent in charge of your case to come up with a plan regarding your child’s care. If you can establish and meet standards of future care, there is every possibility that your child may be returned to your custody.

You Are Entitled to Visitation During a CPS Investigation

Unless your behavior poses a risk to your child, you are entitled to visit them while the investigation is ongoing. The specifics of visitation agreements are unique to each case.

A Dedicated Lawyer Can Help You When Dealing with the CPS

The first step towards achieving an ideal outcome in a childcare case is finding the right CPS attorney. For all your custody law needs in the Pittsburgh area, contact the skilled team at Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC. You want what is best for your children, and we can communicate that to the court or CPS during a CPS investigation. Schedule your confidential consultation with us today at no cost by contacting (412) 471-5100.