Although designed to protect children from abuse and neglect, Child Protective Services often has just as many nightmare stories of investigations based on unfounded accusations as it does rescuing children from terrible conditions.
The safety of a child and investigations of abuse are taken very seriously in Minnesota, but there are equal legal protections for those accused of abuse or neglect of a minor. If you find yourself facing allegations of child abuse, you need to take several steps to protect your rights.
1. Take the allegation seriously
It is a state and federal requirement that you hear the exact details of the situation upon first contact. Neglect and abuse cover broad categories, so get the specific information related to your case. Do not let anyone in the home unless there is a warrant or court order.
2. Do not say anything
It is in your best legal interest to say nothing about the charges or situation to anyone except legal counsel. CPS involvement indicates criminal charges, and the police are likely to show up as soon as you get into it with the CPS worker.
3. Be courteous and polite at all times
It is a devastating, shocking and alarming experience to have a government investigator show up and inform you of the accusations of child abuse. Despite your fear and surprise, never respond with hostility or anger.
The wrong response to a CPS investigation could lead to a perception of guilt. It is important to develop a strong legal response to the accusations as soon as possible.