Child Protective Services (Administration for Children's Services in New York City), often referred to as CPS, is the entity mandated by law to conduct an initial assessment and investigation of reported child abuse and maltreatment. The legal authority for CPS can be found in Social Services Law, Article 6, Title 6, Sections 411 through 428 and in the Family Court Act, Article 10. CPS is responsible for the immediate protection of the child(ren) from further abuse or maltreatment, for the protection of the child(ren) from future abuse or maltreatment, and the rehabilitation of the family.
Working collaboratively with these professionals protects children and adolescents. A referral to Child Protective Services does not signify an automatic removal of a child/adolescent from home to foster care or other presumably punitive action. The goal is protection of the child/adolescent from further abuse and removal is generally a last resort. CPS is not the only agency responsible for child protection. Professionals from law enforcement, mental health, victim advocacy, and prosecution as well as health care have roles in protecting children and adolescents. Advocate for your patients based on your perspective of the abuse situation and then work closely with CPS so that the workers are best able to make informed decisions and referrals.
CPS caseworkers and supervisors may provide:
Support to the child/adolescent and family
An assessment of the level of risk to the child/adolescent, the child/adolescent's safety in the home, and the level of family functioning
Knowledge of child development and family systems
Experience in investigative interviewing of children and adolescents
Assistance with family court and or criminal court
Appropriate rehabilitative services including preventive services, foster care, and protective custody if necessary
Case management information concerning previous interventions with the child/adolescent or family, when requested
Arrangements for counseling, therapy, training courses, and parent aid services for parents or guardians
Arrangements for emergency shelter for children/adolescents suspected of being abused and/or maltreated
Arrangements for financial assistance, where appropriate