Virginia's child protective services (CPS) agency workers are charged with protecting kids, but sometimes they can go too far, to the detriment of children and their parents' rights. Parents can be harmed in ways that relate to family law and criminal law.
If you are being investigated by CPS, you can protect yourself with regard to your custody rights and your constitutional freedoms. It is important to understand some basics about what CPS can and can't do -- and what you should do if you are concerned. Here are five important things to keep in mind.
A CPS case can be used against you in a divorce or custody conflict
Sometimes a coparent or spouse will use false accusations or untruths to gain advantage in a custody or visitation matter. It's important to know your options for dealing with such a problem.
CPS workers may try to interfere with a medical appointment
Some parents are shocked to find an unknown person (who turns out to be a CPS worker) in a medical exam with their child. Many wonder what they can do in that situation.
You may not have to make a statement to CPS without talking to an attorney first
Every situation is different. You may want to seek legal advice before saying anything to county workers.
You can get cross-trained advice about custody if you are charged with a crime
Having knowledgeable legal counsel with both criminal AND family law experience can make a difference. In some cases, you can request a continuance, pause or stay until a criminal matter is resolved.
You can get a lawyer to represent you, aggressively if need be
When CPS workers overstep their boundaries, you may need to take an aggressive stance. With the help of a skilled attorney who knows what Virginia law says about child protective services, you can assert your rights.