How to Handle a CPS Officer at Your Door During a Sex Crime Investigation in Michigan
Having a Child Protective Services (CPS) caseworker appear at your door can be frightening. It is imperative to take appropriate and correct actions during this initial interaction. The first meeting is especially meaningful because the caseworker will develop their first impression of the parent or guardian and the home environment, but it is also an opportunity to obtain important information about the details of the case from the caseworker.
If you follow these steps and recommendations, then you will be well on your way to successfully completing the Child Protective Services investigation without unnecessary negative recourse.
The most essential precaution a family can take, which this section will discuss in further detail is to retain top tier legal counsel as soon as possible. You or your loved ones may not have time to call an attorney before the investigation begins, and consequently, may be faced with a Child Protective Services caseworker at your front door. However, if you take the time to read and understand the recommendations and advice in this section, then you will have ample time and opportunity to consider your options and contact an attorney before the determining factors of the investigation are completed.
Example of the Things You Should Say to a Child Protective Services Caseworker at Your Door
What you say is instrumental, but how you say it is just as important. From the outset, there are two guidelines that should be observed. First, always be polite, respectful, and composed. Second, the less you say the better, the initial interaction is not the time or place to defend yourself. You need to say what needs to be said and obtain key pieces of information from the caseworker. Once these steps have been accomplished, it is time to politely end the interaction and contact your attorney about how to proceed.
Essentially, you want to forestall the investigation and interviews until you have an opportunity to speak with your attorney and align your case and prepare your presentation. Therefore, you will be informing the Child Protection Service caseworker that it is not ok to come into your home and you will not be answering any further questions. However, how you go about communicating this is just as important as the act itself.
It is important to know that there are two required assessments that are one of the two primary factors that are used in determining what category a family’s case is placed into at the close of the investigation. These assessments are a Safety Assessment and a Risk of Future Harm Assessment. The Risk of Future Harm Assessment utilizes two scales one for abuse and one for neglect. The higher of the two scaled scores determines what a family’s risk of future harm to the child is. Each scale has factors that include the hostility or aggressiveness of the parent or guardian in the presence of the caseworker. Another relevant factor is how serious is the parent or guardian taking the investigation and circumstances. Consequently, if you are brash, dismissive, or overly defensive, then even if you do not allow the caseworker in your home or complete an investigation you can already have marks against your investigative file. Therefore, exercising a calm, composed, and polite demeanor during the course of the initial interaction is imperative to success.
What You Can Say
You can politely tell the Child Protective Services caseworker that you understand the seriousness of their presence and respect the tremendous responsibility they are fulfilling to protect children. You can proceed by informing them that this is such a serious situation and with the welfare and the future of your child or children being involved, that you do not feel comfortable proceeding any further without first contacting your attorney to receive counsel and advice.
If the caseworker is persistent and insistent that he or she must come inside and talk to your child or children, then you can politely but assertively inform him or her that he or she cannot come in without a warrant or court order. You are under no obligation to allow Child Protective Services into your home without a court order or a warrant.
Obtaining the Necessary Information from the Child Protective Services Caseworker
There are two important considerations that should be accorded your attention and efforts during the conversation with the caseworker. First, make sure to ask for a business card so you know who the caseworker is that is assigned to your case. Next, you should ask to obtain details related to the allegations that prompted the investigation. If they willingly share the information about the allegations in the complaint that led to the investigation, take notes after he or she leaves so you can consult with your attorney on all of the specifics.
There is one caveat that you want to remain astutely aware of, if the Child Protective Services caseworker tells you they received a complaint of abuse and neglect of a child in your home, then you need to ask again for the details of the allegations contained in the complaint. Abuse and neglect are the most general terms that are used and is true of every single Child Protective Services investigation conducted. Therefore, telling you that there has been a complaint of abuse and neglect filed against you or someone you care about does not really tell you anything.
Ask again about the specific allegations contained in the complaint that initiated the investigation. If you ask for the specific details of the allegations, then the caseworker is required to give them to you.
In summary, keep your conversation brief and say as little as is necessary. The initial interaction is not the time to attempt to defend yourself or offer explanations. You want to inform the caseworker that you will not allow them to enter your home or conduct an interview of you or your children until you have had an opportunity to contact your attorney or the caseworker presents a valid warrant or court order. Next, be sure to obtain a business card and ask for details related to the allegations contained in the complaint that led to the investigation. Again, remember to remain polite, respectful, and above all else, composed during the entire course of the conversation, because your demeanor does factor in heavily to the Risk of Future Harm Assessment.
Grabel & Associates is the Premier Child Protective Services Law Firm in Michigan
There is nothing more upsetting, then an unexpected visit at home from a Child Protective Services caseworker. Thankfully, Grabel & Associates knows exactly how to handle Child Protective Services allegations and investigations. There are proactive steps and measures that should be taken to exemplify a parent’s innocence and fitness to care for their child. There is no better way to start, then hiring an experienced, specialized Child Protective Services lawyer to protect your rights, privileges, and intervene when and where necessary.
Grabel & Associates has specialized in Child Protective Services investigations and subsequent child protective proceedings for more than 19 years, and has appeared before caseworkers, prosecutors, and judges in all of Michigan’s 83 counties. Grabel & Associates consistent track record of winning can be accredited to the firm’s vast experience, knowledge, and insight. The objective is always to obtain a favorable result for client’s cases as early as possible.
Let Grabel & Associates help protect, restore, and reunite your family, or prevent further action from occurring. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-883-2138 for free consultations. Contact us today to begin developing your own calculated, expeditious, and effective legal defense strategy.