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7 Reasons CPS Can Take Your Child

7 Reasons CPS Can Take Your Child

There are many reasons CPS can take your child from your home. Many parents are terrified of dealing with Child Protective Services because of the all-too-familiar horror stories surrounding this agency.

Unfortunately, I’ve felt that terror firsthand. My children have never been removed from my home, but I have become very familiar with the agency over the years since a few people have reported us for various malicious and non-malicious reasons. However, I know that we have been fortunate and many other families are not so lucky.

One of the first things that many people wonder when they’re approached by CPS is, “What are the reasons CPS can take your child?!”

That’s only natural, because every parent’s first instinct is to keep their family together. Fortunately, we have found answers to this question!

Before we go any further, though, I need to remind you that I am not a doctor or social worker. I am a journalist and a researcher. Although I’ve scoured the internet for reputable sources, I need to remind you to contact a lawyer for advice about your specific situation. We have a free legal aid directory here.

parents lose custody after wondering reasons CPS can take your kid

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Low Income Relief is staffed by researchers, not lawyers. If you need legal advice, our friends at JustAnswer may be able to help! Contact them today.

There are 7 main reasons CPS can take your child.

Officially, CPS can only remove your child if they have a court order or if the child is an emergency situation.

The caseworker must honestly believe that the home is not safe for the child, the child is in imminent danger or an emergency has made it impossible for them to leave the child at home.

Remember that the goal of CPS is to keep families together while keeping children safe. For example, Virginia State Law states that children should be in the custody of their parent or guardian unless there is an “imminent danger to the child’s life or health” to the point that “severe or irremediable injury would be likely to result” or “if the evidence of abuse is perishable or subject to deterioration before a hearing can be held.”

Although the details may vary, most of the removal-worthy situations can be grouped into a few major categories.

Physical violence

The goal of removing a child from the home is to keep the child safe from any immediate harm. If CPS has evidence of physical violence or domestic violence within the home, that’s a clear indicator that the child may be in immediate danger. Thus, physical violence is one of the main reasons CPS can take your child away.

Sexual abuse

If sexual abuse has occurred between a child and someone else in the home, at least one person will have to be removed. In some cases, both the offender and the victim may be removed from the home.

Children who have been the victim of sex trafficking or other human trafficking can also be taken into custody immediately.

Drug Use

In some circumstances, drug use can also be one of the reasons CPS can take your child. In some states, marijuana does not count. In other states, it has to be proven that the drugs were used in the presence of the child.

Allowing your child to remain on the premises where methamphetamine was manufactured can also result in a removal since that is specifically listed in Texas law.

Abandonment & Extreme Neglect

Many people confuse poverty for abuse, but poverty is not abuse. In order to be abusive, it must be intentional. If a parent is doing everything they can to get by, that’s not abuse.

However, extreme neglect is one of the more common reasons why CPS can take your child. Extreme neglect includes things like:

  • There is no food in the house
  • The child is visibly malnourished.
  • The child has no clothing.
  • The child has been denied necessary medical care.
  • The child has been locked in a small enclosed space.
  • The child has been denied access to the house.
  • The child has been abandoned or left alone for an extended period of time.

Environmental danger

Extreme environmental danger is another one of the reasons CPS can take your child. This includes things like firearms and illegal drugs being left in the open, where the child can access it. This also includes things like extreme filthiness, pest infestations, lack of sanitary facilities and more.

Mild environmental danger, like computer cables on the floor, will not result in child removal. I’ve been reported for having a messy house before and nothing came of it. It has to be much more severe to warrant removing a child from the home.

Inadequate Care

If a caregiver is unable to care for a child, CPS will have no choice but to remove that child. There are many reasons that a caregiver may be deemed unable to care for a child, including:

  • The parent or guardian cannot be physically present due to hospitalization, incarceration, or another reason.
  • The parent has a severe, untreated mental illness that results in unpredictable and dangerous behavior.
  • The parent or guardian has a history of violent or cruel behavior.
  • The parent or guardian is unwilling to cooperate or accept services.

Medical Abuse

Medical child abuse is what happens when a child receives unnecessary and potentially harmful treatments at a caretaker’s request. This is also known as Munchhausen by Proxy.

If a hospital healthcare worker suspects a parent may be guilty of medical child abuse, they can refuse to discharge the child into that parent’s care while they contact CPS. Thus, medical abuse is another one of the reasons CPS can take your child.

Find everything you need to know about CPS here!

Nicole leads the Low Income Relief team with over 20 years of professional research and writing experience. Nicole started Low Income Relief after a personal experience with poverty. When her husband was medically discharged from the US Army, their family experienced tremendous financial hardship. Nicole was able to gather help from multiple community agencies and move into a nearby low income housing unit in just two weeks! Since then, Nicole has been dedicated to helping low income families in crisis. She regularly spends hundreds of hours combing through countless resources to make sure that Low Income Relief has the most comprehensive and complete resource directories on the internet today. Prior to starting Low Income Relief, Nicole worked as a novelist, journalist, ghostwriter and content creator. Her work has been featured in various print and online publications, including USA Today, eHow, Livestrong, Legal Beagle, The Daily Herald, The Chronicle and more.

Erin Bush

Friday 1st of July 2022

Thank you for writing this article and sharing your experience. I, too, have had 2 cases with CPS in my state and now I have almost 3 years sober and full custody of my son, again. I now work with the parent advocate attorneys and would love to know if you have any resources available for PA? Thank you!!

sylvia flores

Wednesday 18th of May 2022

my name sylvia i had a grandson may 5 2020 the care givers came and picked him up with the police no dcs no papers he was gone i called his mom that in a couple of days shehad court he didnt know her that was his sister dcs in cochise called me at the hospital in tucson we have been together since then i never until maybe a year lateri never got him back he is 14 now grauates tomorrow without me i did everything i could to get him back went to all his courts they are still in court his lawyer keeps tell the judge alex wants to go back to his grandma nothing please help its bard to explain

Isaac

Friday 20th of May 2022

Unfortunately, we cannot give specific legal advice. You can get low-cost legal advice online from our friends at JustAnswer, or you can look for free legal assistance in your area here. https://justanswer.9pctbx.net/c/1390468/1122033/9320 https://lowincomerelief.com/legal-aid

haley alford

Saturday 9th of April 2022

If my child gets taken because of the babys dad and your no longer with him. Is that right and my age because I'm 18

Isaac

Tuesday 12th of April 2022

Unfortunately, we cannot give specific legal advice. You can get low-cost legal advice online from our friends at JustAnswer, or you can look for free legal assistance in your area here. https://justanswer.9pctbx.net/c/1390468/1122033/9320 https://lowincomerelief.com/legal-aid

Danny smith

Friday 4th of March 2022

Cps came and took my girlfriends kids bc I have pending charges I believe, is this fair or enough for them to remove the kids ?

Isaac

Saturday 5th of March 2022

Unfortunately, we cannot give specific legal advice. You can get low-cost legal advice online from our friends at JustAnswer, or you can look for free legal assistance in your area here. https://justanswer.9pctbx.net/c/1390468/1122033/9320 https://lowincomerelief.com/legal-aid

Orlando Spencer

Friday 26th of November 2021

My son was taken away from my wife and I @ UMC Hospital he was born 1/14/2019 the CPS worker said my son was neglected and abused first off I want to bring this attention to the state of Nevada and DFS I find it an out right lie that they proclaim we have been accused of child abuse and neglect that is not true because my wife and I never had a chance to take our son home so how did they come to this conclusion to take my son away and with the pandemic upon the world everything had come to a stop they took our parental rights from us that's unfair

Marie

Thursday 10th of March 2022

@Orlando Spencer,

Isaac

Monday 13th of December 2021

I’m so sorry that you are going through that. It sounds really difficult. Unfortunately, we cannot give specific legal advice. You can get low-cost legal advice online from our friends at JustAnswer, or you can look for free legal assistance in your area here. https://justanswer.9pctbx.net/c/1390468/1122033/9320 https://lowincomerelief.com/legal-aid