One of the first mistakes I see people make at the beginning of this process is to immediately try to figure out “who reported me”. The bottom line is that it doesn’t really matter, and it often can do you a disservice to focus on that issue rather than the more relevant issues of “what should I do next”. The other thing I would add to this section is not to get bogged down in the language that is used, as the CPS definitions of words is often different from legal definitions, which is different still from normal usage. The one word that does get used consistently across all the categories for the most part, though, is “safety”. Ultimately, the reasons CPS gets involved boil down to safety, and your arguments should reflect that. Sometimes CPS themselves get distracted from their ultimate goal as a result of bureaucracy, and a very effective tactic is utilizing the word “safety” against them. It is their burden to show how each of their actions furthers the goal of keeping your children safe, and it is the type of question that when asked non-aggressively, can actually get them to think twice sometimes.
Worst case scenario, even if you can’t convince CPS of your position, a judge will want to hear about your plans to keep the child safe. If the only options are “maintain the status quo” or “CPS’s plan”, often a judge can feel forced to go with CPS’s plan simply because they believe the status quo is unsafe. However, if you can come up with an alternative plan, it shows that you are putting your children first, are willing to make compromises, and understand the seriousness of the situation. That can give a judge a reason to give a second chance where CPS may be unwilling to.
For the full text of this guide, click here.
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