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Can CPS Call the Police? Important Information You Need to Know – 2024

Can CPS Call the Police?

Can CPS Call the Police?

It’s a question that many parents ask: can CPS call the police? The answer, unfortunately, is yes. Under California Welfare and Institutions Code section 300, child abuse and neglect can lead to juvenile dependency and criminal cases. 

In this blog post, we will discuss what constitutes child abuse and neglect under WIC 300 and how it can lead to juvenile dependency cases.

What Exactly is Child Abuse or Child Neglect?

Child abuse and neglect are defined under WIC 300 as any of the following:

  • Physical abuse, meaning physical injury inflicted on a child by another person with the intent to cause harm
  • Sexual abuse, meaning sexual assault or sexual exploitation of a child
  • Emotional abuse, meaning intentional mental or emotional cruelty inflicted on a child
  • Neglect, meaning the failure to provide basic necessities like food, clothing, or shelter

What Does CPS Do?

If CPS (Child Protective Services) receives a report of child abuse or neglect, they will investigate the claim. If they find that there is enough evidence to substantiate the claim, they may file a juvenile dependency case with the court. 

A detention hearing is the first appearance in dependency court after being taken into custody by Child Protective Services (CPS).

Detention hearings are held within three days of a child being removed from the home, excluding weekends and holidays. At the detention hearing, the judge will decide whether or not to return the child to their parents or place the child in foster care.

If the judge decides to return the child to their parents, CPS will still be involved and will provide services to the family. If the judge decides to place the child in foster care, they will be placed with a relative or in foster care.

Unfortunately, this means that the child will be placed in foster care, and the parents will have to go through a lengthy court process in order to get their child back.

In some instances, CPS may also refer the case to law enforcement. This can lead to criminal charges being filed against the parent or guardian.

When Does CPS Call the Police?

There is no easy answer to this question. CPS may call the police if they believe a child is in immediate danger or the abuse is particularly severe. If CPS is investigating you, you must speak to an attorney as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the CPS investigation and ensure that your rights are protected.

When Does a CPS Case Become a Criminal Case?

A CPS case can become a criminal case if the abuse or neglect is severe enough to warrant criminal charges. In some cases, CPS may refer the case to law enforcement, and the district attorney may decide to file charges.

Several types of criminal charges can stem from a CPS investigation, including:

  • Child abuse: Penal Code 273(d)
  • Child endangerment: Penal Code 273(a)
  • Failing to provide for a child: Penal Code 270
  • Corporal injury on a child: Penal Code 273.5
  • Child pornography: Penal Code 311
  • Bigamy, Incest, and the Crime Against Nature: Penal Code 288

If you face any of these charges, you must speak to an attorney immediately.


If you have been accused of child abuse or child neglect, it is crucial to get an attorney as soon as possible.

You deserve to have a lawyer who will help you fight to get your children back. If you are dealing with a juvenile dependency case, child-welfare services case, or CPS case in Orange County, California, or Southern California, you need the juvenile dependency attorneys at ALL Trial Lawyers by your side.

Don’t risk calling the wrong lawyer. If CPS is investigating you, you do not have to deal with them alone. 

We know how the juvenile court process in California works. We have handled hundreds of juvenile dependency cases in Orange CountySan Diego CountyLos Angeles CountySan Bernardino County, and Riverside County.

We have an office located near you, and we’re ready to start working on your case.

Call us now to speak to a lawyer and for your free consultation. Call (866) 811-4255.

Dealing with a CPS case can be scary. You don’t have to face a CPS case alone.

We serve all of California. Call us now. All of our consultations are free and confidential.

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