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CPS and ACS’s ABILITY TO REMOVE CHILDREN FROM THEIR FAMILY HOMECPS and ACS are not law enforcement agencies. They are social service agencies. However, both CPS and ACS have tremendous power. This is the power to remove children from the parent’s home. The alleged real purpose for ACS and CPS to have this power is to protect children from future child abuse and child neglect. The purpose has nothing to do with punishing families. However, when children are removed from a parent’s home or the home from other loved ones, this is punishment for both the children and the family members.


CPS and ACS have no police power or legal power to take any action against perpetrators of child abuse or child neglect. Their only power is to remove the children from their home. In cases where one of the parents of the children is the victim of abuse by the other parent, the victim in these cases, the non-offending parent, is punished by losing custody of the children.


If there’s domestic violence in the household, or abuse or neglect of a child, the CPS or ACS worker can take action to protect the child. To avoid the child being in the presence of the perpetrator of the violence, CPS or ACS will usually seek to remove the child from the household. Then CPS and ACS investigates the nonviolent parent. They look into whether the victim of domestic violence protected the child from abuse. Should the victim have known improper actions were being taken regarding the child? Will the mother be able to protect the child in the future? In virtually every case, CPS and ACS come to the conclusion the victim of domestic violence did not protect the child and that this person should have known or knew about improper action being taken by the other parent regarding the child.


CPS and ACS should be involved in family preservation, as well as child safety. They should be making reasonable efforts to establish a service plan to allow the child to stay in their home with their family. But the victim of domestic violence often finds themself in an adversarial relationship with CPS and or ACS. If CPS or ACS doesn’t remove the child from the home, they lay out a program for the victim to follow. The victim knows this means either he or she follows the program CPS or ACS sets out, or they are going to try to remove the child from the home. This leaves the victim in a hostile situation with CPS or ACS. The victim feels he or she is being punished instead of helped. Most parents in these situations feel CPS or ACS is not helping them. Instead, they are punishing them.

schlissel-headshotElliot S. Schlissel, Esq. has been representing clients who have been investigated by CPS or ACS for more than 45 years. He can be reached at 800-344-6431 or emailed at elliot@sdnylaw.com.

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