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What CPS Can and Cannot Do in California – Important Information 2022

November 6, 2022

What CPS Can and Cannot Do in California best juvenile dependency attorneys in California

Many things need to be clarified about what Child Protective Services (CPS) can and cannot do in California.

In this blog post, we will dispel some myths and give you a clear understanding of what social workers can and cannot do to help protect your child.

Myth 1: CPS Can Remove My Child From My Home Without a Court Order

This statement is not true. In California, CPS must have a court order before they can remove a child from their home.

This is to ensure that a judge makes the decision to remove a child at the detention hearing, who will consider all of the evidence and make a determination based on the child’s best interests.

A detention hearing is held within 72 hours of a child being taken into protective custody. The purpose of the hearing is to determine whether there is enough evidence to support the removal of the child from their home.

If the judge finds insufficient evidence, the child will be returned to their home.

Myth 2: CPS Can Only Remove My Child if They Are in Imminent Danger

CPS can remove a child from their home if there is evidence that the child is in danger, even if that danger is not immediate.

This is because social workers are supposed to be trained to assess risk and make decisions based on what is in the best interests of the child.

If a social worker believes that a child would be safer in foster care than in their home, they may recommend removal to a judge.

Myth 3: CPS Can Only Investigate if I Make a Report

CPS can investigate even if no one has made a report. Social workers are required by law to investigate any situation where they believe a child may be at risk of abuse or neglect.

This means that if a social worker sees something that makes them concerned, they will open an investigation even if no one has made a report.

Things that may concern social workers includes:

  • A history of abuse or neglect in the home
  • A parent with a history of substance abuse
  • A home that is unsuitable for a child, such as one that is dirty or has no running water
  • Domestic violence in the home

Myth 4: CPS Is on Your Side

CPS is not on your side. CPS is a government agency whose job is to protect children from abuse and neglect. This means that their priority is the safety of the child, not the wishes of the parent. This can be difficult for parents to understand.

Anything you say to CPS can and will be used against you in your juvenile dependency case. That is why it is best to hire an attorney as soon as CPS contacts you so that you can have someone on your side. 

Myth 5: Juvenile Dependency Cases Are Simple

This is not true. Juvenile dependency cases are often very complex and can involve many different agencies and individuals. This is because the goal of juvenile dependency court is to ensure that the child is safe and has a permanent home.

To achieve this, the court will consider all the evidence and make a determination based on the child’s best interests. Juvenile dependency cases can be a lengthy and complicated process, but it is important to remember that the goal is to keep your child safe.

If you have any questions about CPS in California or if CPS is investigating you, it is crucial to speak to an attorney with expertise in this law area. 

So What Can CPS Do?

CPS can provide many services to families in need. Some of these services include:

  • Home visits to assess the safety of the home environment
  • Counseling for families who are struggling
  • Parenting classes to help parents learn how to keep their children safe
  • Foster care placement for children who cannot remain in their home

However, it is important to remember that CPS is not perfect. They can make mistakes, and they are not always on your side. If CPS is investigating you, it is important to speak to an attorney who knows this area of law. 


If you have been accused of abuse or 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.

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