Unfairly Accused Of Child Abuse: Understanding The ACS And CPS Investigation
Getting a phone call from an agent of Child Protective Services (CPS) or Administration for Children’s Services is frightening. An indictment can result in the loss of your child or the implementation of a service plan that interferes with your relationship. Even unfounded cases can have traumatic effects on your record and your closeness with your family.
The child abuse investigation process
Anybody can report suspicions of child abuse. Some medical professionals, educational staff, caretakers and social service providers are required to file a report. ACS or CPS has 24 hours to begin an investigation of child abuse or neglect allegations after receiving the initial report. The agent must reach a finding of indicted or unfounded within 60 days. During the investigation, the agent may:
• Review family history that exists with the ACS or CPS
• Conduct home visits
• Contact the person who reported the abuse
• Interview you and other caretakers
• Question people who may have relevant information — such as teachers, medical professionals and neighbors
The child is removed from the home only if the ACS or CPS agent finds a threat of immediate or serious danger.
What you should do if contacted by ACS or CPS
You may know which event triggered the investigation — possibly an injurious fall at your home or a parenting style that is inconsistent with your neighborhood or school culture. On the other hand, you may have no idea what started the process. Regardless, the first contact made by a Utah child protective agent is likely to come as a shock. Remain composed and calm whenever you speak to the judge, agent, social workers and other professionals involved in the investigation and adjudication process. Even if your reaction is justified, your angry response can backfire.
Enforcing Child Support of Out-of-State Parents
When your children’s other parent lives outside of Utah, determining which state has jurisdiction to rule on the establishment, collection and enforcement of child support payments can complicate the process of getting the money you are owed. The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) addresses this issue so you know which order to follow and which court to petition for legal intervention.
Prior to passage of UIFSA, you and the other parent may have obtained inconsistent orders that required the payment of vastly different sums. In addition, the differing state laws could lead to vastly different results when applying for enforcement assistance or modification of an existing order. Because every state was required to adopt UIFSA in 1996, you can now rely on this legislation to direct you toward the correct body of law, state agencies and court system to pursue your rightful child support payments.
The basic premise of the UIFSA is that the law recognizes only one order for each child and paying parent during any period of time. Whether Utah or another state has jurisdiction is determined by the UIFSA provisions regarding:
Continuing exclusive jurisdiction (CEJ) — recognizes a state’s power to issue and modify a controlling child support order if your child or either parent continues to live in the state.
The controlling order— is determined by which state has CEJ if your Utah order conflicts with that issued by another state’s court.
When a state loses CEJ — it loses the authority to modify an existing order and collect on current payments that are due, but the state can collect on arrearages if from a prior order made while the state had CEJ.
To transfer CEJ to Utah — you and the other parent can agree that Utah has jurisdiction or you can trigger the transfer by initiating court action if you, your child or the other parent lives in the state.
Free Initial Consultation with Lawyer
It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a law question, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you!
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506