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A CPS or ACS Investigator knocks on your door. What do you do?

A CPS or ACS Investigator knocks on your door. What do you do?Initiation of a child abuse or child neglect investigation usually starts by having a CPS or ACS worker knock on your door. The first response to a CPS or ACS worker knocking your door will be shock. Here are some tips to follow with regard to how to handle a situation of this nature:

Be calm and very careful as to what you say.

An investigation by CPS or ACS is stressful. You may find the allegations to be a lot of nonsense. However, beware the investigator will take his or her obligations to investigate you seriously. Avoid arguing with the investigator. The investigator will usually show up without a search warrant and without the police. The only information the investigator may have are the allegations in the complaint. The complaint may be a bruise a teacher saw on your child or it may be a nonsense call by someone who dislikes you. Be very careful as to what you say to the investigator.

Ask Questions, find out the investigators name, phone number, e-mail address and supervisor

Meet the investigator at the door and do not let the investigator into your house. They have no right to come into your house. They will tell you they are coming in to investigate you. You can politely tell them you can speak to them at the doorway. Ask information from the investigator. Make sure to write down his name and/or her name, phone number, e-mail address and their supervisors’ names. If you have a recording device, record the meeting and advise the investigator you are recording the meeting.

Your home is your castle

I again repeat, I do not recommend you allow the investigator into your home. If the investigator does not have a warrant, they are not entitled to go into your home. They may threaten you. They may tell you you’re not entitled to a lawyer. They may tell you they are entitled to go into your home. This is not true. Do not let them into your home. Amendment 4 of the Bill of Rights to the United States Constitution protects you with regard to unreasonable searches and seizures by governmental agencies. If the investigator insists they come into your home to investigate, ask them if they have a search warrant and if they don’t tell them they are not coming into your home. Do not be pushed around!

The only instance where the investigator can come into home without a warrant is if the investigator shows up at your house with the police and they believe there is eminent danger to your children. This is certainly not the usual case.

Ask the investigator the basis of the investigation

Ask the investigator what the complaint states. Advise the investigator you seek to speak to your attorney before you will continue to be interviewed. The investigator may tell you you have no right to an attorney. They are wrong. You have a right to an attorney at every aspect of any type of investigation. This is America. You have rights!

Obtain the investigator’s name, phone number and advise them your attorney will call them to set up a time and place for the investigation to move forward. If you do not have an attorney, tell them you are going to hire an attorney and you wish to adjourn this meeting until such time. Be careful not to talk too much or make too many statements to the investigator. The investigator’s job is to find evidence of child abuse or child neglect. In a child abuse or child neglect investigation you are considered to be guilty until it is proven otherwise.

schlissel-headshotI hope you never have to utilize the information contained in this Article, but if the situation arises and you have questions, feel free to contact our office at 800-344-6431 or e-mail me, Elliot S. Schlissel, Esq., at Elliot@sdnylaw.com. Our office has been representing clients in child abuse and child neglect investigations for more than 3 decades. We have an excellent record of success. You can also take a look at our web which is called cpsdefenseinny.com.

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