Child Protective Services
Any contact from Child Protective Services is extremely frightening, as you, or someone you are in a relationship with, may be accused of neglecting or abusing a child. Social Services is governed by Maryland’s Department of Human Resources, and its goals are to protect children from abuse or neglect, as well as to help parents provide adequate care for their children.
The investigation will result in a determination of whether the allegations of abuse are indicated, unsubstantiated, or ruled out. The local department will file a report within 5 days of completing the investigations stating whether any services are required and stating the final disposition (i.e., whether the allegations are indicated, unsubstantiated, or ruled out). All written reports concerning abuse investigations, even if ruled out, shall be forwarded to the local State’s Attorney’s office for review. The local department may forward the results of a neglect investigation to the local State’s Attorney’s office. The local department may also file a Child In Need of Assistance petition in certain cases.
Sometimes abuse or neglect allegations are reported by a party motivated to gain an advantage in a custody or divorce proceeding. While the local department is aware of this possibility, every report is taken seriously, so it is crucial for you to take it seriously too. An “indicated” determination may spawn separate proceedings in juvenile court with a Child In Need of Assistance (CINA) petition or in a criminal court with a statement of charges or indictment.
If you face a CPS investigation, it is important to engage the services of an attorney even at the investigative stage. An attorney can give you advice on how the allegations may play out with the local department. An attorney can help ensure that the department considers any mitigating factors or exculpatory information. I have over 20 years of experience with family law matters and can help you through this dreadful experience.