How To Get a CPS Case Dismissed in California: A Guide

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By Divorce & Finance

How to get a cps case dismissed in california what to expectTips on how to get a CPS case dismissed in California will greatly benefit CA parents who are afraid of unwarranted child removal. Some parents have unpleasant encounters, including CPS wrongful removal.

While the Child Protective Services agency exists to protect children from potential abuse and neglect in their homes, it could also result in stressful moments for parents who are put through unfair investigations.

This article highlights the steps California parents can take to get their CPS cases dismissed quickly.

How To Get Your CPS Case Dismissed in California

To get your CPS case dismissed in California, a good starting point is filing a motion to dismiss. Most importantly, you should seek competent legal counsel to help prove that your child is in no real danger and that you can protect and provide a safe environment for them.

Observing the rules regarding CPS and working with an experienced attorney can help you get your case dismissed early. Below are several tried-and-tested ways through which you can achieve that.

– Cooperate With CPS

Working with CPS doesn’t mean that you overlook your rights. Things might work out faster if you cooperate with the caseworker. Find out what the investigation is about and make any changes that your caseworker may recommend. That way, they might close your case faster if they establish that your child is no longer in immediate danger.

– Keep the CPS Investigation Timeline in Mind

The CPS investigation timeline in California is about 30 days. During this time, the investigator will try to obtain evidence by interviewing the relevant parties or finding other physical evidence. Your case will be closed if they don’t find anything against you within this time frame.

– Go Through Family Maintenance

The court will hold several hearings after the CPS files a petition. During the detention hearing, the court notifies the parents about what is happening. The court also notifies the parents of what can happen in their dependency case. Most importantly, the court decides where the child stays during the case.

During the disposition hearing, the judge can dismiss your case or let the child live with the parents on “family maintenance.” That means the caseworker and court will supervise the child.

The court may also put the parent through the CPS reunification process in California. Under California reunification laws, you can have your case closed quickly by accepting support services and completing your prevention plan or case plan.

– File a Motion to Dismiss

Your attorney can guide you on how to file a motion to dismiss in CPS dependency court. Since you can’t write a letter to the judge to get your child back from CPS, filing this motion after the initial hearing is the best way to request the judge to dismiss your case.

The court will determine whether the CPS petition is true through admission, submission, or listening to evidence produced by both sides. The court will likely dismiss your case if CPS doesn’t produce enough evidence to back its petition.

– Be Familiar With the Law

CPS caseworkers must follow due process and respect parents’ rights when handling a case or starting an investigation. Blatant violation of parents’ rights and failure to follow the requisite process could easily see a case dismissed by a judge in a juvenile dependency court.

The law obliges CPS to investigate all child abuse reports or neglect complaints regardless of whether they are legitimate or false accusations. Depending on the circumstances, investigations could be a simple conversation with a caseworker or detailed investigations involving experts.

If you have been falsely accused, the onus is on you and your attorney to show the court that the CPS case is based on false accusations. By providing sufficient evidence and proving your claim, your attorney can help get your case dismissed before it can even take off.

– Be Patient

Case duration differs from one case to another. If an investigation is unfounded, your case can close or get dismissed in as little as 30 days. However, if the juvenile dependency court establishes a need to remove the child from their home, the case could stay open for 18 months or more.

Courts hold various review hearings to determine how the child is doing and how the parents are faring with the court-ordered services. Subsequent review hearings may be held to evaluate whether the court should allow family reunification services or order a permanent plan for the child.

CPS Guidelines for Cases in California

CPS guidelines for cases in California include rules that they must investigate every report that they receive, they can speak to your child without your permission, they can show up at your house unannounced, they can ask invasive questions, and they can also remove your child.

CPS is bound by strict rules that they must abide by in any case. Parents also have rights that can shield them in CPS cases. So what are the things CPS is allowed to do after receiving a child abuse report?

– CPS Must Investigate Every Report Received

As mentioned above, CPS must investigate every claim against you before opening a case. It’s not uncommon for parents to be falsely accused or have things taken out of context.

CPS should take every claim made against you with the utmost seriousness. Equally, they should investigate the claim to establish the facts before taking further action to avoid putting you and your child through emotional distress.

– CPS Can Speak to Your Child Without Informing You

While this doesn’t sit well with most parents, CPS can definitely speak to your child without your consent. This often happens if they feel the allegations are serious enough to speak to the child before talking to you.

This rule protects children by preventing them from being forced to give false statements to protect abusive parents or guardians. It also gives children the liberty to speak to the child protective services caseworkers if they have any important information.

– CPS Can Show Up Unannounced

You shouldn’t be surprised if CPS showed up at your door without notice – it’s almost always the case. They do this in cases of alleged child abuse or domestic violence to avoid having parents on their best behavior while the social workers are around. That also helps caseworkers to collect any incriminating evidence against the parents.

– CPS Can Ask Invasive Questions

Caseworkers can ask personal and somewhat invasive questions that may seem irrelevant. For instance, you may even be asked to produce some medical records in a case of suspected medical negligence.

However, parents aren’t required to answer all questions posed to them by a caseworker. Talking to an experienced attorney before speaking to a caseworker is important since anything that you say can be used against you in the court.

– CPS Can Remove Your Child

A caseworker has the right to remove your child from your home if they establish that the child is at immediate risk of harm. While this can be traumatizing to both the parent and child, it is a matter over which CPS has authority. However, some laws ensure that the separation isn’t permanent.

Parents’ Rights When Dealing with CPS California

Parents’ rights when dealing with CPS in California include the rules that CPS can’t forcefully enter your home, you don’t have to take a CPS requested drug test, and you have the right to a court-appointed attorney. It would be best to keep these rights in mind.

If you encounter a CPS caseworker, you must understand the boundaries and rules governing CPS actions. Most importantly, parents should understand their rights when dealing with CPS.

– CPS Can’t Forcefully Enter Your Home

A caseworker can show up at your door anytime, but you’re not obliged to allow them into your home. They can only do so if you give explicit permission. However, exceptions exist: a caseworker can enter your home if they have a court order or believe your child is in immediate danger.

– You Don’t Have To Take a CPS-requested Drug Test

The only way for CPS to conduct a drug test is if you consent to it or if they have a court order. Don’t accept out of fear that CPS will take away your child, terminate your parental rights, or make things difficult for you throughout the case.

Don’t worry about what happens if you ignore CPS in the case of a drug test – tell a child protection caseworker to get a court order if they insist on administering a drug test.

– Right to a Court-appointed Attorney

You may face a court battle if CPS files a lawsuit against you. That could be an issue for parents who may not afford to hire legal counsel. Such parents have the right to a court-appointed attorney to help them with their CPS case. You also have a legal right to attend all court hearings regarding your case.How to get a cps case dismissed in california all you need to know


Parents may want to know how to get a CPS case dismissed in California if they encounter the child welfare agency, and while CPS has a child’s best interest at heart, false reports and unfounded investigations could lead to unlawful child removal. This article has highlighted the various things to observe if you want your CPS case dismissed, so here are the main things to remember:

  • You can get your case dismissed quickly by working closely with your caseworker or filing a motion to dismiss with the help of your attorney.
  • The legitimacy of the report made to CPS can also help get your case dismissed, as the dependency court judge will determine whether the allegations against you are true or false.
  • A breach of your rights during a CPS investigation could also cause the judge to dismiss your case, especially in the case of wrongful removal.

Each CPS case is unique, and it is essential that you work with an experienced attorney once an investigation is opened. That way, they can find loopholes to have your case dismissed quickly, especially if the investigation is unfounded.

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