The CPS/Court Role in Child Abuse Investigations

The deaths of this infant and of another young child just last week have some wondering how investigations by child protective services did not pick up on alleged abuse in these homes.

The final goal for both CPS and the courts is putting families back together.

There are no set rules when looking at removing children from a home, but one thing is clear: evidence of abuse or neglect must be there.  CPS Spokesperson Greg Cunningham says, "I don't think anyone wants to live in a state where CPS can just go in a take your kids based on an allegation, I think people want cps to prevent evidence and that's the system we have."

A judge looks at that evidence in a series of hearings.  One of them is Judge Ronnie Walker, who says "my role is more passive in the sense that agreements are reached, experts are brought in, home studies are done, investigations are done."

If children are removed, Cunningham says CPS works with families for months to try to re-unite them.  He adds, "if a parent is cooperative and works with the court and does what the court asks them to do often times they are returned."

Walker says, " it would really be up to the parents and how they work with the services of CPS and other participants."

They then follow up with the families, sometimes for months, and if another allegation surfaces, they check it out.  But if there is no evidence, they cannot do anything.

Judge walker says unfortunately, children are sometimes not able to return home.  Cunningham says there are about 400 children up for adoption or in foster care in our area.