Previously, I’ve talked about how to handle CPS over the phone. Today, I’m going to talk about what to do when they knock on your door. One thing is absolutely the same: be unfailingly polite. So is one other thing: don’t give them anything unless they can prove that they have a legal right to have it.
The moment you’re click speed test off the phone with your lawyer (from the previous part), brainstorm a list of relatives that could take care of your child should CPS manage to find legal basis to take your child away. They are legally obligated to place your child with a relation before entering them into The System, and you should give them absolutely no excuse to do anything but follow that law.
Then, immediately take your special needs child to your doctor for a complete examination. Ask them to write a letter explaining that any bruises, marks, or other physical ‘evidence’ that might be relevant to the report have a perfectly innocent explanation. The more stridently they can phrase the letter, the better.
Finally, ask literally everyone that interacts with you and your child — pastor, family, teachers, neighbors, everyone — to write letters testifying to your character, your dedication to and love for your child, and the quality of your parenting. The more of these you can gather, the better — and if anyone refuses, you might even be able to gather a clue as to who is accusing you.
You knew this was coming, because you got a call from CPS a while back. So when you hear the knock, move your child(ren) out of the view from the front door. Then, grab a device that can record a conversation, start it recording, and put it in your pocket. When you finally answer, step outside and close the door behind you. Don’t give them the opportunity to see inside. Be polite, but ask them to produce the warrant or court order that gives them the legal right to be in your house without your permission. If they claim that there is an emergency, ask them to detail precisely what the emergency is. Call their bluff: if it were a genuine emergency, you’d have a police squad, not a CPS officer, at your door, and they’d be inside already.
The moment you let a CPS officer into your home, you have silently waived your 4th Amendment right against search and seizure, and any human being with even a modicum of creativity can find something inside of your house to use as a reason to declare it an unsafe place for a special needs child. If you let them in, the chances that you will lose custody of your child, at least temporarily, rapidly close on 100%.
Until the CPS shows up with an actual, legitimate legal document giving them access to your home, they do not have access to your home. No matter what threats, what cajoling, what pressures they attempt to bring to bear on you, remain absolutely steadfast that they cannot come into your home, speak with your child, see your child, or receive a straight answer from you on any question whatsoever other than the answer “no” to any question that starts with “Can I?”
If the CPS officer actually has a warrant or a court order granting them legal access to your child, stand aside, but voice your objections loudly and demand, repeatedly, that you not be separated from your child, and that your child not be interrogated unless your attorney is present. You will be separated from your child, and your child will be interrogated without your attorney present, but having those demands on record (you are recording this, right?) will be useful if it comes to a legal battle. Then, get in your car and follow the CPS agent — politely — to wherever they’re taking your child. The moment you’re out of your car and it’s safe to do so, call your attorney and get them on their way there, and ask them how to proceed from that point.