Fewer things are as infuriating and frightening for a parent as facing accusations of not meeting the children's basic needs. If you get that dreaded knock on the door, how do you handle it? What if a social worker removes your children from the home? This is a valid concern for you and other Nebraska parents.
The purpose of Child Protective Services, explains the Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services, is to protect children in cases of abuse or neglect. Caring for your children does not necessarily protect you from being investigated by CPS if someone makes a report against you. If a CPS worker knocks on your door, it can be in your best interests to be civil and cooperative, but remember that the social worker is not your friend. It is his or her job to find evidence of abuse if it exists, and sadly, this means that you may be seen as guilty before you are deemed innocent.
If CPS comes to your door, stay calm and consider the following:
- You may inform the social worker you wish to speak with your attorney. The worker will likely reschedule the visit, which can give you time to prepare.
- Before letting the social worker into your home, you can ask to see a warrant. The social worker may try to intimidate you, but you have the right to refuse admittance to your home without a court warrant.
- If you refuse to let the social worker inside, he or she may come back with law enforcement. You can ask again for a warrant, but you may still have to let the CPS worker come in.
- Ask the worker for contact information, including his or her full name and license number.
- Answer questions honestly, but stay to the point. Avoid appearing overly helpful or offering too much information.
If the social worker finds the allegations against you unfounded, he or she should close your case. If, instead, the worker removes your children from the home, do not panic. At this time, CPS and the family law courts should work with you to develop a plan to regain custody of your children.