Family relationships can get very complicated, especially when there are children involved. Maybe your mother thinks that you’re an irresponsible parent and doesn’t like the distance you keep between her and your child. Maybe your ex-spouse or their relatives have accused you of being neglectful, which you thought was just to bait you.
You never dreamed that you would suddenly have Child Protective Services (CPS) at your door, carrying a Child in Needs of Services (CHINS) order and carrying tales that are either vastly exaggerated or outright fabrications. What can you do now?
CHINS orders can set the stage for unfair treatment
An investigation by CPS is inevitable when there’s a CHINS order. While it shouldn’t work this way, parents on the end of a CHINS order usually have to overcome the CPS investigator’s biases. These investigators tend to interpret what they see and hear in the light most negative to the parents, and that’s a real problem.
Depending on the facts specific to your case, there are several different approaches possible. Working with your defense, you can:
- Get an independent investigation: When you need to present an accurate picture of what really happens behind your doors, it can help to have your own investigation. Statements from your child’s medical providers, teachers, day-care providers and other people who are able to support your positions can be powerful tools.
- You can try mediation or family counseling. If you know where the allegations are coming from, you may have some success with pre-trial mediation or family counseling. Sometimes family members make accusations of child abuse when they’re angry and then regret it later. Others eventually see the wisdom of working together for the sake of the children, instead of tearing the family apart.
Any CPS investigation, CHINS case or not, can be incredibly stressful. When you know the allegations are false, the whole process feels punitive. Experienced legal guidance can help protect you and your parent-child relationship.