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What do I do if I get a knock on the door from CPS?

That dreaded knock can be any California parent’s nightmare. This means that not only has someone felt it necessary to report a parenting concern about you to Child Protective Services, but a social worker is about to investigate and determine if you are a fit enough parent to keep your children in your home. This can be an upsetting, embarrassing and frightening experience for anyone.

What should you do if you open the door and see a CPS social worker? FindLaw advises to remain calm. You are not obligated to let the social worker in without a warrant. He or she may attempt to convince you otherwise, but you can insist on seeing a warrant and speaking to your lawyer. The social worker may schedule an appointment for a later visit or return with a warrant or law enforcement. You may then be required to submit to the investigation.

This is still not necessarily a reason to panic. The social worker’s job is to make sure your children are safe and well cared for. You may be asked questions, and the social worker may look through your house for evidence of dangerous items or activity within access of your children, such as drug use, weapons or domestic violence. The worker may also speak with your children. It is important to be civil and honest, but you do not have to be overly friendly and should not offer too much information.

Most likely, the case will be closed after finding no evidence of abuse or neglect. Your children may be removed if the social worker is concerned for their well-being, in which case you have the option of developing a plan with CPS to address the issues and get your children back. The information in this blog is not meant to be legal advice.

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