Ten Things You Must Do if ACS-CPS Targets Your Family and Shows Up At Your Door

1) Take the accusation seriously. I don’ t care how absurd or unbelievable the caseworker sounds. Understand that SHE is serious, and likely presumes – no, likely KNOWS that you are guilty as accused. Even if she doesn’ t flat out say that she’ s there to take the children, she is quite possibly intent on doing just that.

In testimony to Congress, Chris Klicka, senior counsel for the Home School Legal Defense Association, stated that a case worker with 30 years’ experience once confided in him that “When I started working, we tried to prove the family was innocent. Now we assume they are guilty until they prove they are not.”

2) Ask what the charges are. Most of the time, the caseworker wants to keep you in the dark as to what you have been accused of, but she is now required by federal and state law to tell you the nature of the accusation at her first contact with you.

And don’t settle for the answer of “abuse” or “neglect.” Those are categories, not accusations. You are entitled to know what specific actions you are accused of committing.

3) Shut up. Shut up now. It is imperative that you not talk to anyone but your attorney. It is natural that innocent parents who have nothing to hide want to explain everything so that a reasonable person can see there’s no problem here. But CPS agents are not reasonable. You are presumed guilty. That caseworker is there to find evidence to support what she already believes to be true – that you abused your child.

If you say nothing to them, you have taken away their greatest weapon, which is their ability to twist your words. Let me give you some examples of what was done to parents who did talk to them:

The husband of a client of mine had been accused of sexually molesting their autistic, non- verbal daughter. The CPS investigator asked the mother if her daughter had exhibited any unusual behavior lately. The only thing she could think of was that a couple of times the month before, the girl had wanted her mother to come lay down with her for a few minutes. Usually, she would just go in and go right to sleep. The investigator stated to the court that the mother admitted her child had become afraid of her own bedroom.

One father I defended told the caseworker that he had disciplined his daughter over a 20 minute period, where he would talk to her about what she had done wrong, swat her a few times, and then talk some more. The investigator stated to the court that the father admitted to beating his child non-stop for 20 minutes.

4) You must find an attorney who has experience in fighting CPS, as soon as you realize your family is being investigated. Notice I said experience in fighting CPS. Many attorneys- if not most – believe their role is to find out what CPS wants and make sure their clients do it. That way often leads to disaster – and the loss of your children.

5) Be polite. Hostility toward the investigator is considered evidence of guilt. Your perfectly natural angry reaction to being accused of harming your child will be used as evidence of an abusive personality.

6) Under no circumstances should you let any government agent in your home unless he or she has a warrant or order issued by a court. Ask to see the warrant or order, because the CPS worker may lie and say she has one when she doesn’t. When she doesn’t have one, politely but firmly tell her that she will have to stay outside until she gets one. If she claims it’s an emergency, make her tell you what it is. Call her bluff – if it were a true emergency, she would be there with armed police officers, forcing her way in. Do not even open the door to let her look at the children.

There is no compromise on this. There is no exception. If you invite a caseworker into your home, you have waived your fourth amendment protection. And if the caseworker is intent on taking your children, SHE WILL FIND SOMETHING IN YOUR HOME TO JUSTIFY IT. THAT IS A GUARANTEE.

Understand that you may be threatened. You may be lied to. She may tell you that the 4 th amendment doesn’ t apply to caseworkers. That is a lie. She may tell you that she doesn’ t need a warrant. That is a lie. She may tell you that she’ll return with armed police officers. And she will. But that changes nothing. Even a man with a gun on your porch doesn’t change the fact that she still has no right to enter your home.

Listen to the words of an ex-CPS investigator:

I wish I could shout from the highest mountain to parents to vigilantly learn their rights! If they knew what their legal rights were there would be significantly lower numbers of child removals. Social workers, unlike policemen making an arrest, are not required to inform the parents of their legal rights. All we had to do to remove a child was to show up at the home and tell the parents we came to remove the kids. Often times we would take a police officer with us (never telling the parents he was there for MY protection, not to enforce an order or warrant). 99% of the time we never had to get a warrant or court order to remove kids because the parents would be so intimidated by the officer that they would just hand their kids over and show up for court the next day. But if they had legally known their parental rights, they could simply have told me that I could not take the children unless I had a court order signed by the judge or had a warrant to remove the kids. … the majority of times parents were just intimidated and gave consent for the whole process to begin; completely unknowing of what rights they just waived.”

If officers do force their way in, do not physically resist. Make your objections clear, but stand aside. There’s no point in getting arrested, or risking injury or death. Your children need you. Demand that you not be separated from your children, and that your children be interrogated only with your attorney present. (This demand will likely be ignored, but demand it anyway. The fact that you did may become important in later court proceedings.)

7) Demand that CPS tape any interrogation of your child. They are required by Texas law to do so. Bring your own recorder in case the CPS agent “loses” her tape.

8) If the accusation is one of physical abuse, have your doctor give your child a thorough physical exam. Ask him to write a letter stating that no bruises, marks, or health concerns were found on the child that would create suspicion of child abuse or neglect. Go to a doctor you trust. Never never never go to a doctor recommended by CPS.

9) Gather names of friends and relatives who are willing and able to care for your children if CPS takes them. If your children must spend time away from you, it’s far better that they do so with people you know and trust than in an abusive foster facility.

10) Never admit guilt, even if CPS has taken your children and offers to give them back if you do. It would be immoral to do so if you truly haven’t done anything, and it may be a quick way to jail and to lose your kids forever. CPS agents are not above lying to you to prove your guilt.

By Chris Branson, Attorney at Law, Houston, Texas

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38 Responses to Ten Things You Must Do if ACS-CPS Targets Your Family and Shows Up At Your Door

  1. Audra Rodriguez says:

    In the state of Texas can a CPS worker show up at your door and say I have a case on you from a call they received and demand a drug screen (hair folical test) and give you until 5pm the next day to do so? This has happened to a family member. Which had to deal with CPS over a year when a 3 month old child died of SIDS. They even took her children out of their home. Thank God they were put with other family members. Now they are back again and demanding a drug screen saying they got a call.

  2. Audra Rodriguez says:

    She was cleared of any wrong doing in the death of her baby but the made he take all these class and do what they wanted her to do. There was no court orders and no legal documents other that what they kept handing her.

  3. Dessey says:

    Hi what if your mom doesn’t list of one the family member you would like to stay with?And let’s say nobody stays with you can you go back to your mother?And most likley who is the judge in favor for?How long is an cps case?Can you be adopted?What happens if the person who called acs on my mother,can that person adopt me!? Thanks:)

  4. anissa says:

    Is it legal for cps to take kids out of home and request drug test wen child says my uncle hit my head. No marks just mad child. Can they remove child from home and request drug test if financial difficulty causes power to be off temporarily?

  5. anissa says:

    Can cps request drug test wen family has no power temporarily and can they take children out of home?

  6. nichelle says:

    do my children have to see acs doctors..whem they saw they own doctors

  7. brooke says:

    is cps allowed to take my children if i remove a protection order i hae aganist there father even if hes already violatedit and picked up asault charges?

  8. sarah says:

    I was wondering if after cps takes tour children and you have a case plan. Can or do they follow you around to gather evidence against you? Is it ever possible to return to a domestic violence relationship with your children if after CPS gets involved?

  9. anthony dick says:

    Thanks learned a lot. But can acs take off your child clothes in nyc

    • to Anthony Dick,
      No they cannot do that. They must first ask the child and if the child is old enough to answer and says no,they cannot force or undress the child

      • Fusion ministries Laura Olivarri says:

        Hah, good to know as they are trying to pull that bull with me, I haven’t ever done a damn thing yet they have made life hell since sept of last year, ps they search everything to boot.

  10. Ebony says:

    If cps took my child and case still open if I git pregnant and had another can they take that child?
    In nyc

  11. Shiane M. says:

    Hey, I was wondering. Can a child be taken from the parents if they did in fact attack the child with a weapon?

  12. Lala Chery says:

    If you have an order of protection against someone for domestic violence, and the law guardian has taken one out for your children, what would happen if the person with the op against them was said to be around the children. Is this a way of loosing your kids when they are in your care?

  13. Tracy Cloud says:

    I am a single parent who is of need of your assistance. My daughter is a chronic runaway i was told to get a pins warrant. I was told i will receive a acs case which i dont need i need guidance

  14. raquel says:

    Can a female age 17.8 file an order of protection against ACS for harassing her?

  15. Laura says:

    they took my child with no real reason how can i get ger back asap

  16. altagracia says:

    Educate yourself! Stop the cycle.

  17. Billy says:

    Priceless info! Can’t be screamed loud enough!

  18. I need help in fighting for my kids. This system is fucked up! To Hell with the ACS workers! and every other child welfare service in America! Nothing more but followers of Pharaoh and Herod!! (read some Scripture)

  19. Verona Samuels says:

    Took my son to the hospital he died then acs took my other 2kids I get no visit with my kids I need help

  20. Fernandez Ruiz says:

    They stolen my children. Cps stole my baby manually. Becus they lied. There is no acussaton. Towards me i never hurt my baby they have nothin. Pink dickens. Attorny. Read this u hve stolen my baby I did wht I could for alone 5000$ dollars. For my baby to hve a roof over his head. U hve never abuse , neglect, or probable feature my baby

  21. rachale says:

    Cps in cleburne texas are screwed up bad.they interviewed my children away from my home without me knowing.when i met with them at office i passed my drug test n got copy of it but yet caseworker lied n court saying i failed n got a emergency removal of my children.then had hair follicle test done but i find it strange it has no levels on it but says i failed it.how can they say that n not have levels.then said i got to go take a random ua few days ago n when i arrived they done hair follicle test can they actually do that

  22. Susie says:

    The cps workers havent contacted me yet. What is the first thing they are going to do? Can they drug test me the first time they meet me?

  23. Annie g says:

    Acs calling me today at 9:30 10
    I am in nyc
    It’s March 24 2015
    They asked can we speak to your children without a court order please I said know you do not have permission to speak to my children without a court order no court order you cannot talk to my son. I go to pick my son up today an acs went to the school an talked to my so. They have no buissness talking to him as I said no you cannot. This case opened because I wanted t my 2 kids to see my dad .
    I said I’m withdrawing g fro
    T he petition. When she called me on the phone I. The morning.
    I said tommarrow within a few days
    An then go to my sons school he is 6 yrs old. Questioning him how old am I what is my name daddy’s name how many brother an sisters you an how old u believe able when you have a answer please let me know if this is illegal. Their is no case of harm nothing not anything

  24. jill says:

    Does cps follow us around or stalk our homes?

  25. nicole says:

    how long does a cps worker have to find evidence to build a case before they cant mess with you anymore and leave u alone?

  26. paula Leasure says:

    Im in ny in the bronx need lawyer to sue acs here but cant afford one need one who wil sue and collect when we win.They acs are keeping us from our kids even though we ve done everything required and they were taken illegally .need help and guidance thank you

  27. Carmen says:

    My oldest child was removed by acs by court cause i didnt call one time 911 cause ahe has manic depression bypola even though i won the case and have custody of my child and still had my 3 kids but still have acs they was it supose to be a short time until i get proventive family sevices for a year. They ask my kids to show them buises and i was told they supose to do and thier older. The next day they telling me i have to get a drug test by thier agency cause someone told them they had contact with that i had glassy eyes. I didnt refuse unless when i come out negative they gonna have to take action on the so call person who did false alligation on me even though glassy eyes doesnt mean im on drugs before asking me what meds im on i do have i have acs attorney..please help.they are is what acs doing still trying to break my constition rights

  28. Patrick Daniels says:

    Good afternoon I’m Texting to ask you for your assistance in helping me to feel my right Got violated New York City Acs took my son from his mother on May 17 I haven’t seen my son since May 10 I have visitation with my son and I have joint custody with my son when he took my son from his mother… Out of my lifeI don’t get visitation I don’t get monitored visitation is unfair to me like I’m back in the 60s when I could just come in your house and take your family member and you can’t do nothing about it I just feel my rights got vallate it and they won’t tell me nothing until we go to court on July 2 I’m just axing you can you help me my number is 134-7316 1732 I’m just reaching out because I don’t know what else to do once again my name is Patrick Daniels

  29. Preeti says:

    If i wants to live with the person who was abusing me but now he realized his mistake but Cps is involved in that so what Cps worker will do .is she arrest me or is she understand me

  30. Joann seals says:

    Can cps take your rights just because they think something might have happened?

  31. Ayanah says:

    ACS took my mothers children for no reason. Its all my fault. Im so hurt.

  32. Skyewalker says:

    acs aint no joke . do the counseling they ask, everything gonna ay ok. trust me, the worst thing is to avoid them. they look down upon that. if you aint on drugs, no alcohol, a “normal” person acs will be just a memory

  33. unquefranchise29 says:

    I need a lawyer,I would like to know if the rights you spoke of does that goes for New York as well.

  34. Anissa says:

    Five times Acs has been called on me by an anonymous person.. Never once was any report on me founded.. Acs was called on me this 5 th time..the case worker did not give me a copy of my report..yes I allowed him in my home however it was clean.. He told me there was a report made on me and that they had to see my kids body parts and that I had to take a drug test..what do I do?

  35. Rosa says:

    My 16 year old daughter called ACS on my family, she even hit me, she has a 1 year old child that I support financially. This is a violent case and the case worker and her supervisor are trying really hard to convince me to let her back in the home. When I explained that I am afraid to have her in the home the supervisor said, “Well you can defend yourself against your daughter”, I felt very uncomfortable at that point. She also said, if anything happens upon my dauther’s return to the home, she will make sure that all the children in my home are removed, she will make sure of that. Then my daughter said that she has thought about killing herself a few times, I thought they would evaluate her but NOPE. At the end, they let my daughter go stay at her friend’s house and gave me the baby until they find placement for them both. Why cant I just have the baby and continue to care for her while my daughter goes through a program and gets help? The case worker did a home visit and said she got a great vibe from my family. I don’t understand this system. Why would they try so hard to put her back in the same home she made all these allegations about? Nobody’s safety is a concern here? I am so frustrated.

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