Understanding Child Interviews in the Context of a CPS Case

When Child Protective Services (CPS) initiates an investigation into your family, interviewing your child becomes an integral part of the process. It’s essential to recognize that such interviews are standard procedure and do not necessarily indicate the direction your case will take. However, as a parent, you should inform yourself about how to handle these situations and prepare your child for these interviews within the context of a CPS case.

The Importance of Not Coaching Your Child

One crucial aspect to understand is the importance of not coaching your child before their interview with CPS. Children cannot effectively conceal that they have been coached, and experienced interviewers can readily detect signs of coaching. Attempting to manipulate your child’s responses by coaching them can have adverse consequences for your case. CPS may view this behavior unfavorably, and it can further complicate the investigation.

To ensure a smooth interview process for your child, it’s best to provide general guidance rather than specific instructions. Encourage them to be truthful and share their thoughts and feelings openly. Let them know that they can rely on you for support throughout the process.

Interviewing Your Child at School

In some instances, CPS may opt to interview your child at their school rather than at your home. This can happen regardless of your presence. If you are at the school on the interview day, CPS still requires your explicit permission to speak with your child. However, if you are not present, CPS can proceed with the interview without your consent. It’s essential to understand that your consent must be unequivocal; vague responses or the absence of a clear “no” will not suffice.

Furthermore, CPS must notify you of the interview within 24 hours if it takes place, ensuring transparency in the process. This allows you to stay informed about the developments in your case and maintain open communication with your child.

CPS Examination of Your Child

The context of a CPS case can involve various types of examinations of your child, depending on the specific allegations and circumstances. It’s essential to grasp the procedures and your rights regarding these examinations.

CPS requires your permission for any examination, whether it is conducted within or outside your home. If you are present at the time of the examination, your consent is still necessary. However, if the examination is to take place outside your home, and you are not present, CPS can proceed without your consent. Your child’s consent is also a factor, as they can choose whether or not to allow the examination.

In cases where a judge has ordered that CPS be granted access to conduct an examination, no lack of consent from you or your child can prevent it from occurring. This typically happens after a judge has ruled to remove your child from your home and place them in temporary custody with a relative or a CPS group home facility.

CPS Requesting a Court Order

Refusing consent for interviews or examinations does not necessarily halt the process. CPS has the option to request a court order to compel these actions. If a judge determines that it is in the best interests of your child, they may issue an order for interviews or examinations. It’s crucial to understand that violating a court order can result in severe penalties, so compliance is essential.

Understanding these aspects of child interviews and examinations within the context of a CPS case is crucial for navigating the process effectively. Being aware of your rights and responsibilities during this challenging time can help you make informed decisions and ensure the best possible outcome for your family. If you have further questions or need guidance on CPS cases or family law matters, do not hesitate to reach out to the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, for a free consultation with our experienced family law attorneys.

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