Investigations by Child Protective Services (CPS) and Administration for Children’s Services (ACS)

lawyer for parents in CPS proceedingsThe process by which Child Protective Services (hereinafter referred to as “CPS”) and the Administration for Children’s Services (hereinafter referred to as “ACS”) looks into allegations of child abuse and child neglect is referred to as an investigation. These are not criminal investigations. These are more appropriately described as narrative reports on the status of the children and the interaction with the children’s family related to the event or events in question. It should be noted that CPS and ACS workers are looking to find child abuse or child neglect in their investigations. Once a report of alleged child abuse or alleged child neglect is made it is presumed to be accurate by the CPS or ACS worker until such time as the worker looking into the matter determines it is more likely that child abuse or child neglect has not occurred. In other words, you are guilty until proven innocent!

The purpose of a CPS or ACS report is to reach a determination as to whether or not a child needs to be protected from potential future abuse. CPS and ACS reports focus on the circumstances involved in the family, their history, their economic circumstances, the relationship of family members, their school programs, what their household looks like, whether there are adequate safeguards in the home, adequate food in the home, whether the home is messy, ill maintained and other issues.


Although CPS and ACS workers are not criminal investigators they can have a significant impact on families. Their investigations should not be taken lightly. The fact that they are looking for evidence of child abuse and child neglect must be carefully dealt with. The presumption the CPS or ACS worker is investigating to find the truth as to what happened, may not be accurate. The purpose of the investigation is to ascertain as to whether the allegations are not true. Until such time as they reach the conclusion that the allegations in the initial report are not true, there is a presumption by the CPS or ACS worker that they are investigating an actual case of child abuse or child for parents facing CPS or ACS charges

About Elliot S. Schlissel

Elliot S. Schlissel, Esq. has spent more that 45 years representing individuals in matrimonial and family law cases.