Being involved with Child Protective Services (CPS) is often a stressful and overwhelming experience. In some cases, individuals may feel that CPS violated their rights during the process or that the agency was negligent, causing their family actual harm. It can be challenging to determine whether this was actually the case or if it was just a distressing situation. So, can you sue CPS? The short answer is that you might be able to, depending on the circumstances. Before pursuing legal action against CPS, it’s essential to understand when and how a lawsuit might be successful.
When Is Child Protective Services (CPS) Negligent?
There are many reasons why children in the care of Child Protective Services can and receive less-than-ideal protection and attention. Although negligence is not always the cause, sometimes it is. If you believe any of the following circumstances are present, negligence may be present, and you should speak with a lawyer right away about a potential lawsuit:
Insufficient Training Over Overworked Employees
The sheer volume of cases often overwhelms CPS investigators who, as a result, are unable to complete thorough investigations. This means that crucial evidence may be overlooked or misconstrued, leading to a wrong decision regarding whether a child needs protection. Additionally, insufficient training can mean that investigators do not have the necessary skills to identify when further investigation is required.
Protocols Not Followed
When protocols such as CERAP (Child and Family Evaluation Review Assessment Protocol) are not followed correctly, children can fall through the cracks and suffer injury. CERAP requires an assessment of the family’s needs and strengths before any decision-making takes place, which helps ensure that recommendations for services are appropriate for each situation. It also prevents decisions from being rushed due to caseload overload or bureaucratic delays. If these protocols aren’t followed, this could be considered negligence.
The CPS Reporting Hotline May Fail To Take Action When It Should
Sometimes, the CPS reporting hotline may fail to act when it should. This could be due to inadequate resources or communication breakdowns between investigators and law enforcement agencies.
When Can a Child Be Removed From the Home?
It’s essential to understand when CPS can remove a child from your home. This is so you’re aware of what is permitted, what might be a violation of your rights, and what could be considered negligence.
Once an allegation of abuse has been made, police will typically turn it over to social workers, who will begin their investigation. This may involve speaking with parents/guardians, children in question, people who know them, and other family members.
In some cases, social workers may speak with children at school without a parent or guardian present. The social worker will visit the family home within five days from the initial call to determine whether the child can stay in the home during the investigation. Emergency removal procedures may also be used for situations where there is an immediate threat of harm to the child.
Requirements for Removal of a Child
The law states that for CPS to legally remove a child from their home, they must conduct an investigation, prove imminent danger, and attempt alternative measures before doing so. This means they must have substantial evidence that the child is in immediate danger if left in the home and that all other reasonable attempts at keeping the child safe have been made before taking them away.
In addition, a judge or magistrate must sign a warrant before removing the child from their home. Removing a child would be unlawful if these requirements are not met.
Emergency Removal of a Child
If emergency removal is necessary, it must be authorized by court order and only after evidence has been collected to support allegations of serious harm. The court will then provide direction on where the child should be placed while an investigation into the allegations is underway.
Obtaining Court Orders for Child Removal
A court order for Child Removal must be obtained before this action can take place; without one, no removal of the child should occur. However, if the child must be removed before an order can be obtained, the order must be completed within 3 days of filing a petition, or CPS must return the child.
Seek Legal Help if You Believe CPS Was Negligent and Intend To File a Lawsuit
If your child has been removed unlawfully or you believe CPS has caused you harm, you should speak to a lawyer right away. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced lawyers. We can help determine whether you might have the ability to sue CPS for negligence at that time.
Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm in Los Angeles, CA
If you were injured in an accident in Los Angeles, CA or you lost a loved one and you need legal assistance, please contact us to schedule a free consultation. One of our Los Angeles personal injury lawyers at M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers will get in touch with you soon.