What Happens After Someone Reports Child Abuse to The Authorities? (Pt 1)

We do all sorts of things in our daily lives, without ever stopping to wonder what happens after the small role we played in the process. Throw something into your trash can, and at the end of the week, set it out at the curb and never give it a second thought? Have you ever wondered what happens to that trash after it gets picked up? Where does it end up? How long does it take to get there, and what kind of environmental impact does it have in the long run? 

A close up of hands holding a cell phone and dialing a number, symbolizing someone making a call to authorities to report child abuse.

The same goes for reports made to authorities about suspected child abuse. What happens if you think a child is being molested, or neglected? If you report that to a teacher or a doctor or even a police officer, what happens next? Who gets involved? Who investigates your claims, and how do they handle it? What kind of impact does this have on the people potentially accused? The answer is complex. So we thought we’d break it down for you.

Regardless of who you tell, the police and CPS get involved

You might report the suspected abuse to a teacher at the child’s school, or a pediatrician, or even a therapist. But regardless of who you talk to, if that person is a mandatory reporter, they are required by law to go to the cops. And once the cops have been told, in almost every case they reach out to CPS and file reports with the agency as well.

This means that two separate investigations will likely take place. The police will conduct a criminal investigation to see if any laws have been broken and charges need to be brought, while CPS will investigate to see if a child is at risk, and whether or not they need to be removed from their home, and if the parents or caregivers need help (we use that term loosely here, mind you!)

So what happens next? How do the investigations get handled?

A police investigation is different to a CPS investigation. The police have a lot more protocols they’re required to follow. There are very specific rules governing things like evidence collection, and what they’re allowed to say during an interrogation. CPS, on the other hand, has far less oversight, and can say almost anything to the court to justify taking your children away from you.

A police investigation, if they find evidence of child abuse or neglect of any kind, can result in criminal charges. A CPS investigation however, if the case worker suspects abuse or neglect, is more likely to result in your children being placed in foster care and your family receiving “services” like court mandated parenting classes, or group therapy. Reports of abuse and neglect usually result in multiple agencies getting involved.

Never try to fight for your family without help from a professional!

Join us next time for a look at how this process affects the person being reported, and what you can expect if it’s your name someone passes on to the police or CPS. Until then, if you or a loved one have been contacyed by CPS in connection with suspected child abuse or neglect, call 866 766 5245 immeditately.

Never wait! And never try to handle this on your own without professional help. CPS is a big agency, with not much in the way of oversight, and a long history of abusing their power. Don’t try to fight this on your own. Call our experienced and aggressive CPS defense attorneys today, and make sure you’re on a team of seasoned professional fighters. We’re here to help.