Table of contents
- What Is CPS?
- A primary investigation
- A report and examination of the evidence
- A full investigation
- The CPS investigation is completed
- How to check if your phone is being tapped by CPS
- How to protect your device from being tapped by CPS
- What you need to know in your interaction with CPS
- Your rights and privacy
- Representative of the law
- False reports
- Home visit
What Is CPS?
What is CPS?
CPS definition: Child protective services (CPS) is a US agency responsible for protecting children, especially when there is suspicion of neglect or abuse.
Dealing with child protective services (CPS) can be a nightmare for families. Parents pride themselves on caring for their children. However, sometimes work and other issues can get in the way of you doing that.
For example, a single parent may have to take more shifts at work, leaving their young children in the care of older siblings. This isn’t ideal since anything can happen—kids can go hours without food or even mistakenly start a fire while playing or preparing food on the stove. In such cases, CPS may be called to step in.
Did you know?
According to Statista, in 2021, the average number of cases per CPS worker was 64.
Dealing with CPS is a process. Here’s what you can expect when CPS gets involved:
A primary investigation
CPS starts investigating the claims made against the family or parent. This is initiated by someone close to the family who would’ve noticed signs of abuse or neglect.
Here’s what CPS looks for at this stage:
- Signs of maltreatment of your kids
- If the child’s physical and medical needs are unmet
- If the child has inappropriate clothing for the weather and conditions
- If the home has obvious hazardous physical/unsanitary conditions
- If the child experiences unstable living conditions, etc.
The aim is to determine whether the child lives in a safe home and is being properly cared for.
A report and examination of the evidence
After conducting a primary investigation, the caseworker will consider the evidence and draw up a report. If there is sufficient evidence or concern to move forward, the caseworker undertakes a full investigation.
A full investigation
This is a more in-depth investigation to get to the bottom of the home situation. The caseworker must prove or disprove that a child is safe in their current home.
They'll gather as much information on the adults in the home as possible. They may interview people who have frequent contact with your child, including:
At this stage, CPS caseworkers look for the following:
- Signs of severe physical harm or abuse
- Signs of sexual abuse
- How vulnerable the child is based on their age
- Whether a parent is planning to flee with the child
- Criminal records.
If any of the above scenarios are likely, the child will probably be taken into emergency custody within a day. Additionally, CPS may run background checks on the adults living in the home. This is to determine that no one poses a risk to the child’s safety.
The CPS investigation is completed
After the investigation is finished, CPS will either substantiate or rule out the possibility of child neglect or abuse.
If the allegations or suspicions are substantiated, the child will be taken from your care and placed in custody until a suitable living arrangement is made for them. Parents may also face criminal charges.
Child maltreatment statistics
According to the American SPCC, 90.6% of victims suffer maltreatment by one or both parents.
CPS can get a bad rap for tearing families apart. However, its involvement may be what’s best for the children involved.
How to check if your phone is being tapped by CPS
With a court order, social services may tap your phone as part of its investigations. You can dial specific MMI codes on your phone to see if your data, calls, or texts are being diverted elsewhere.
There are different MMI codes depending on the type of network you’re on. These can be GSM networks or CDMA networks.
On GSM networks:
- *#002# for all call and data forwarding settings
- ##002# to reset all call and data forwarding settings.
On CDMA networks:
- *72 for all call and data forwarding settings
- *73 to reset all call and data forwarding settings.
Want to learn how to know if someone is spying on your phone? Look out for the signs below:
- Battery issues
- Unexplained data usage
- An influx of ads
- Strange messages.
How to protect your device from being tapped by CPS
You may have questions about hacking, like, "Can hackers see through your phone camera?" and “Can you protect yourself from tapping?”
Here’s some advice on how to stop someone from monitoring your calls and messages, including CPS:
- Switch off your phone when you aren’t using it
- Disable Bluetooth when you don’t need it
- Use anti-spy protection.
Clario AntiSpy’s Spyware scan is an anti-spy tool for iOS and Android devices. It weeds out spyware and parental control apps that might be secretly installed on your phone to protect your data.
Did you know?
While parental control apps are legal, bad actors can use them maliciously to spy on you.
Clario AntiSpy’s Spyware scan checks for these and other spying apps, and gives you a quick overview of your security risk. Here’s how to use it:
- Download Clario AntiSpy on your phone, get a subscription, and set up an account
- Tap Spyware scan and follow the on-screen prompts.
- If Clario AntiSpy finds any threats, it will guide you through the process of getting rid of them.
We recommend using Clario AntiSpy to run a deep scan connected to your computer via cable for a more in-depth report on signs of spying apps on your phone.
What you need to know in your interaction with CPS
Dealing with CPS isn’t easy. Most people fear their kids will be taken away, but this isn’t always the case. CPS involvement doesn’t guarantee that your child will be uprooted from your home or that you’ll face criminal charges. However, it’s important to arm yourself with information to prepare accordingly.
Here’s what you need to know when dealing with CPS:
Your rights and privacy
A CPS caseworker can look around your home. However, they must ask for permission to check your phone. They may also take the legal route, which involves obtaining a court order.
Tracking your phone without a court order is illegal.
Representative of the law
Dealing with CPS can be challenging, frustrating, and can lead some people to take desperate measures to keep their child. A legal representative, team, or office in your county can help prevent this.
Here’s what a legal representative can do to help you in your interactions with CPS:
- Defend your child’s best interests
- Help you understand legal terminology
- Help you understand the nuances of the CPS system
- Prepare you for meetings, home visits, interviews, and court proceedings where necessary
- Help you get your ducks in a row
- Paint you in a positive light within reason, and defend your parenting where applicable
- Ensure you stay within the confines of the law when proving your child is safe in your home.
When you’re desperate to defend yourself, you can settle for any lawyer that looks good or says the right things. But the lawyer you work with can be the difference between keeping your child and losing them.
Ask an attorney these four questions before you hire them:
- What’s the number of dependency cases you've worked on in your career?
- What percentage of your practice do dependency cases account for?
- What motions do you typically file in dependency cases?
- What will you require of me during this case?
While CPS may be well-meaning, unfortunately, false reports are a reality for some families.
What are false CPS reports?
False CPS reports are untrue allegations of child abuse or neglect.
Anyone can file false reports against parents, including:
- Family members
- Health practitioners.
The reasons are wide-ranging, including the following issues:
- Spousal (divorces)
- Alimony disagreements
- Prenuptial disputes
- Family divisions
Either way, the consequences are dire—families can be hurt and lose trust and support from the community. When facing false child abuse or neglect reports, enlist the help of a lawyer with experience working on CPS cases.
Home visits are mandatory and can be expected when dealing with CPS. The goal is to establish whether the home environment is safe and suitable for the child. The CPS caseworker will ask you questions and may suggest ways to improve.
CPS cannot tap your phone without your permission or a court order. However, CPS won’t give you a heads-up, so we advise taking matters into your own hands and protecting your privacy.
Use Clario AntiSpy’s Spyware scan to search for threats on your mobile phone and get a clear view of your vulnerability. This will help you take care of threats before they get serious.