Child Protective Services (CPS) investigates abuse and neglect complaints against parents. If they have reasonable belief children have either been neglected or abused mentally or physically, they may seek to have the children removed from the family’s home.
Family Court Proceeding
Abuse and neglect proceedings are brought in the Family Court in the State of New York. In Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island, these matters are prosecuted by the County Attorney’s Office. In the five boroughs of the City of New York, these proceedings are prosecuted by the Corporation Counsel’s office.
In cases where it is believed the children are at substantial risk of physical injury, sexual abuse or other types of abuse, proceedings can be brought in the Family Court to remove children from the family’s home. The taking of children from a home usually has a traumatic impact on the children’s parents.
Child Removal Proceedings
During the course of the child removal proceedings, Orders of Protection are usually given to the children to prevent the continued abuse of the children by the parents or other family members.
Parents who have their children removed from their home are entitled to a hearing. At that time the removal agency must establish a reasonable basis for the removal of the children. It is extremely important that families being investigated by CPS or who have had action taken against them by CPS retain competent, experienced counsel to represent them in these proceedings. Often arrangements can be made to have the children returned to their family’s home as part of an arrangement where the parents take parenting classes, and/or anger management classes. In these situations there is usually a series of follow up visits by Child Protective Services to make sure the children are being properly cared for. When parents enter into these agreements to take classes or obtain therapy it is important they actually go to the classes and therapy sessions. Entering into an agreement to undergo therapy or parenting classes and not attending either therapy sessions or the parenting classes can give the impression the parents aren’t serious about changing their ways and the children remain at risk.