Child Protective Services (CPS) is responsible to receive and investigate reports of child abuse and neglect and to provide, arrange for, and monitor services for children and their families.
The investigation of a report is a fact-finding process that includes interviewing, observing and information gathering. Its purpose is to protect the child, determine the validity of the allegations, evaluate any condition of abuse or maltreatment that was not reported, determine the services necessary to ensure the protection of the child and reduce the degree of future risk to the child.
The investigation includes an evaluation of all children in the home, whether or not they are named in the report.
Within 24 hours of receiving a report of suspected child abuse or maltreatment, an investigation must be initiated and an assessment of the safety of the child done.
The law allows CPS 60 days from the time of the receipt of the report to complete a full investigation of the allegations contained within the report, as well as an evaluation of the care being provided to the children.
If some credible evidence of abuse or maltreatment exists, the report is indicated and the family is offered appropriate services. If no credible evidence of abuse or maltreatment is found, the report is unfounded and sealed.
The caseworker may initiate Family Court action, where necessary, in order to compel the family to accept services or to seek a disposition which separates the children from the offending parent(s).