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CPS and ACS Investigations: Fourth Amendment Rights

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution states: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrant shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by an oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”


CPS and ACS Investigations

The Fourth Amendment protects families from investigators from CPS (Child Protective Services) and ACS (Administration for Children’s Services).  If an investigator comes to your door claiming they are entitled to enter your house as part of an investigation pursuant to a complaint to CPS or ACS, they are lying to you.  There is a constitutional right to privacy in your home.  Investigators from CPS and ACS do not have search warrants.  If they come to your door and want to speak to you and you decide to speak to them, open your door, go outside and speak to them outside your home.  Ask them what they are investigating you for.  If they don’t cooperate with you tell them you are going to retain counsel, get their information and advise them your attorney will contact them.  If they tell you you’re not entitled to an attorney, they are lying to you.  You are entitled to an attorney at every aspect at every point in time during any investigation.


Anonymous Complaints

Complaints to CPS and ACS are made anonymously.  This means virtually anyone can file a complaint against you.  The complaint does not have to be based on facts, truthful circumstances or real problems that exists.  However, ACS and CPS will investigate any complaint made to them even if it is farfetched.


Guilty Until Proven Innocent

When an CPS or ACS worker comes to your house they are presuming you are guilty of whatever allegation has been made against you.  Their job is to investigate and find documentation that proves you are guilty.  Innocence until you are proven guilty before a court of law applies to criminal matters.  It does not apply to ACS or CPS investigations.  You should therefore be very careful if you are subject to an ACS or CPS investigation and you should take the allegations against you even if they are completely made up seriously.  The best defense to an ACS or CPS investigation is to retain an experienced ACS or CPS lawyer to represent you.  This a relatively specialized area of the Attorney Elliot Schlissellaw and you should retain an attorney who is experienced in handling these matters.


Elliot S. Schlissel is the managing partner of Schlissel DeCorpo LLP.  He is an attorney who has been representing clients regarding CPS and ACS investigations for more than 45 years.  He can be reached at 800-344-6431 or Elliot@sdnylaw.com.

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