When Child Protective Services becomes involved with a family the impacts can be surprising and things happen fast. Even if you are confident you have done nothing wrong, the agency’s mission is to protect children and an investigation is a serious matter.
If you have been contacted by Child Protective Services or are being investigated, it’s important that you retain experienced legal representation right away. The consequences of a CPS case can be significant, and your rights are very different than they are in the court systems. For example, a social worker can speak with your child without your consent and without you being present. Interviews are required to be electronically recorded (with a few exceptions).
The Virginia Department of Social Services manages Child Protective Services (CPS) and is required by law to act in response to valid reports of suspected child mistreatment and evaluate child safety. If you have been contacted by CPS there’s a good chance they have received a report of possible abuse or child neglect.
The most common investigations we see are related to suspected assault on a child, child neglect or abuse. Anyone can make a report and it can be done anonymously, which can lead to investigations stemming from a misunderstanding or perceived wrongdoing.
An investigation will also likely included photographs of the child and living conditions. In cases of suspected injuries, the CPS can make arrangements for a medical evaluation without your consent. Although a Child Protective Services investigation is not a court proceeding, you do have the right to speak with a lawyer and be represented by an attorney. In some cases an investigation can lead to criminal charges and in other a criminal charge is taken out simultaneously with the CPS investigation. Although, you have the right to appeal any CPS investigation findings, don’t wait until a finding has been determined to speak to an attorney. Hiring an attorney immediately can have a significant impact on the outcome of your finding.
Protective Orders normally accompany any CPS Investigation and/or Criminal Charge for Domestic Assault.
Sometimes a CPS investigation can leave parents feeling confused and not knowing where to turn. Parents have rights and defense attorney Jerrell R. Johnson of JRLaw is an experienced Virginia Beach criminal defense attorney well versed in the juvenile court system and Child Protective Services investigations. If you have been contacted by Child Protective Services or a social worker regarding your child or children, it’s a good idea to speak with a lawyer experienced in these matters.
Contact JRLaw today in Virginia Beach at (757) 447-0080.