Whether an evening knock on your front door or an interrupting call, in a heated child custody case, you may deal with a false CPS accusation.
Child Protective Services is a great and necessary organization that investigates reports of abuse and neglect of children; provides services to children and families; places children in foster care; and assist in placing children in adoptive homes. CPS workers are professional and deal with unspeakable offenses against children in our society.
They see both real and created situations that involve a child’s sexual abuse. So how should you respond if you are falsely accused of sexually abusing your kids?
Here’s what I did when my Ex accused me of sexually abusing our daughter.
1. Keep Calm, Cooperate, & Remember Professionals Can Get to the Truth. So many parents lose their cool on the phone or with a CPS caseworker when getting initial notice that their son or daughter has been picked up by child protective services. Treat it the same as if a police officer was interviewing you after you witnessed a robbery. You know you are innocent and you have faith that the police will get to the truth. You just happen to be caught in the crossfires.
The same is true with CPS, they are experts at getting at the truth. Your attitude and respect for them and the process speaks volumes to your innocence.
2. Call Your Attorney Immediately. Once I thanked the CPS caseworker and got details on where they had taken my daughter, I immediately called my attorney. I cannot emphasize the importance of having professional council guide you through the curves your Ex may throw at you during a highly intense custody case.
3. Bring Supporting Material to the Investigation. I took with me my emergency file box which contained my latest copy of the court order, a copy of the social study, a certified copy of my Ex’s outstanding child support, her copy of her cross filing for custody, endorsement letters from the school and doctors etc. I dressed professionally, walked in confidently and calmly answered each question. I showed all the documents I had brought with me.
4. Avoid Fighting with Your Ex on the Scene. I arrived a CPS office and found my Ex sitting in the lobby holding my crying eight-year-old daughter. Although I believed this was a staged scene, I fought my emotions and kept my wits. Ignoring my Ex, I kissed my daughter on the head and proceeded to meet with CPS investigators. I knew that my every move was under scrutiny. Besides, acting out my rage would have only upset my scared daughter even more. Out of my Ex’s earshot, I asked my daughter be questioned privately.
5. Comfort Your Kids. After several hours of questioning and my daughter’s private interview, I was found innocent. I asked the CPS workers to assist in returning my daughter to my car so I could avoid engaging my Ex in the lobby. At home I hugged my daughter and told her I appreciated her courage and telling the truth. The best move is to love and comfort your children, don’t punish them, give them the third degree, or involve them in parental squabbles.
6. File an Affidavit with the Court Regarding Your Statement and Experience. Talk with your attorney, but in my opinion ANY false accusations should be followed up by a sworn affidavit. This document should given to the judge in your case or added directly to your file. No matter how insignificant the incident, prepare a rebuttal document.
7. Request a full Copy of the Report. Investigations may stay open for more than a year. Nevertheless have your attorney request or pay for a copy. The final report on the staging of my daughter’s crying episode took 18 months to complete; the private interview with my daughter revealed the entire plan right down the words she was asked to say. Investigations may also include video or audio recordings. Get all of it.
CPS is there for all kids. I believe that most times, they can get to the truth. The process is slow but they are very professional. They can see through schemes. They have seen it all before. The innocent parent will prevail.
What suggestions do you have for a false CPS accusation?
Feature images of courtesy of imagerymajestic via FreeDigitalPhotos.net.