The question of when Child Protective Services (CPS) can be called is not a simple one, as it is connected to a number of significant implications. Unfortunately, over 700,000 children are abused each year in the United States, so it’s not unheard of for people to report suspected abuse to CPS, even if the evidence is rather weak.
When families are entangled with CPS, it can be very stressful. Even when false accusations are made, CPS has a legal obligation to investigate all viable allegations that come their way.
If you have or are often around kids, it’s good to know the reasons why CPS can be called. Here are three reasons to keep in mind:
#1 - Physical Abuse
Someone may report suspected child abuse to CPS if the child shows signs of injury or it is reasonably believed that there’s an imminent threat of violence. Physical abuse may be reported if it is suspected that the person legally responsible for the child:
- Inflicted the injury
- Allowed the injury to be inflicted
- Created an imminent danger of the injury
- Allowed an imminent danger of the injury to be created
The issue with this is that kids can be reckless. Children get hurt all the time through no fault of their parents. Injuries are often learning experiences for kids and parents have to allow mistakes to be made in order for their children to grow.
#2 - Sexual Abuse
If sexually abusive or exploitative behavior is suspected, a report may be made to CPS. Some of the reasons a person might report sexual abuse to CPS are as follows:
- The child flinches or raises their hands in a defensive manner
- Sexually abusive or exploitative behavior is suspected for various reasons
- It is suspected that the person legally responsible for the child had sexual contact with the child
- It is suspected that the legally responsible person allowed sexual contact to occur
- It is thought that the legally responsible person used a child in a sexual performance
- There are speculations that the legally responsible person allowed a child to engage in prostitution
#3 - Neglect
If neglect is suspected, it is possible for someone to report it to CPS. Some of the reasons that parents or legal guardians may be accused of child neglect are as follows:
- The child appears to live in an unlivable environment
- The child appears to be left alone for long periods of time without adequate care
- It is thought that the person legally responsible for the child failed to provide the minimum standard of care
- The failure to provide adequate care caused harm or impairment to the child
Sadly, false accusations of child abuse happen frequently and CPS is not always able to immediately identify when abuse is truly occurring versus when invalid allegations are made. If you need assistance defending your family, we’re here to help.