This is third and final part of a series on Child Protective Services. In this article, I will talk about what to do when CPS makes its recommendation.
On some occasions, CPS will make a recommendation that is favorable. It may well be that the CPS social worker arrived at her/his recommendation through an incomplete investigation or by making assumptions. Nevertheless, it is not your obligation to point out weaknesses in a social worker’s recommendation with which you agree. Remember that CPS does not exist to help your case, and in that regard, it is an unreliable and uncontrollable factor: If you get a helpful recommendation, you are fortunate, indeed.
If you get an (unjustifiably) unfavorable recommendation, you have a lot of work ahead of you. There is no sugar-coating the situation; the Court will take a CPS recommendation very seriously. That said, you do still have options. You are entitled to contact the social worker who conducted the investigation and find out on what basis that social worker made the recommendation. You are entitled to review all documents used by the social worker in making the recommendation. Once you have all of the facts of the matter, you can determine if the social worker’s investigation was incomplete or if the social worker reached improper conclusions from the data gathered. You will likely be admonished by CPS that the information you are obtaining is confidential, only to be viewed by the Court. The official reason is that it protects children. A significant side benefit is that it protects CPS.
Note that, even if you catch the CPS social worker in a blatant error, the tendency will be to justify his/her conclusions rather than revise a recommendation. Moreover, Courts are reluctant to discount CPS reports, even when they are obviously flawed. The Court relies on experts, and every time an expert is found to be inexpert, it makes it harder for the Court to make “informed” decisions; nevertheless, while the process is often slow, you can defeat a bad CPS investigation. Moreover, if it comes out that the allegations themselves were false, there can be custody ramifications for the alleging party.
This is sophisticated stuff, and there is no substitute for experienced legal representation. Your chances of success will be much higher if you are represented by counsel with years of experience dealing with Child Protective Services. You don’t have to go it alone. Schedule a consultation with us, and we can help.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog is for general informational purposes and it should not be relied on as legal advice. An attorney-client relationship is not formed by reading the information on this site and can only be formed by a written agreement that sets forth the scope of the relationship and the fee arrangement. There is no substitute for expert legal assistance. If you need representation, schedule a consultation with the Barefoot team.