Baseless Child Protective Service Complaints
Occasionally, we have experienced cases where a parent is continually running to Child Protective Services to lodge a series of baseless or minor complaints against the other parent. This post addresses steps that a parent can take when they are the target of such harassment.
First, CPS is supposed to keep the source of any complaint confidential. These CPS reports, however, have a way of self-identifying the person who lodged the complaint.
There are mandatory reporters such as health workers or teachers. And there are the parents and other adult family members.
When a complaint is lodged with CPS, it triggers interviews with the minor children, as well as visits to the children’s school and to the parents’ homes.
If a series of complaints are made, the process can be onerous and invasive. Steps can be taken when the CPS complaints are groundless. First, if more than 3 complaints are made within a year, or more than a total of 5 complaints arise over any period of time, a statute provides authority for the CPS worker to report the complaining parent to the county Friend of the Court. The target parent should make this request of the CPS caseworker.
Second, it is a felony to lodge a false report of parental abuse or neglect. The target parent should contact local law enforcement, or request that the CPS caseworker do so, to report the offending parent.
Third, the Court of Appeals has recognized that making false CPS reports negatively impacts the family court’s custody evaluation. This can be argued during a custody motion or evidentiary hearing.
If you are facing a co-parent who is leveling false allegations of abuse or neglect, contact our law offices in order to explore your legal options.