Child Abuse & Neglect Frequently Asked Question #4
I don’t like the way CPS handled my case. What can I do?
Each State provides its own policies and procedures for reporting and investigating child abuse and neglect cases. State and local agencies and courts implement these policies and procedures according to State laws. For a listing of State Child Welfare Agency Websites, please see http://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/reslist/rl_dsp_website.cfm?rs_ID=16&....
If you have questions about the way in which CPS handled your case, you may want to begin by discussing your concerns with the caseworker and agency supervisor. Often an open discussion will help to answer your questions about your case.
If you have made every effort to resolve your concerns with the local agency staff and you feel that your concerns have not been adequately addressed, you may want to ask if the agency has an appeal procedure or an ombudsman. Many agencies have ombudsmen to help clients resolve differences with the agency. (The names of these offices vary and may include “Ombudsperson,” “Ombudsman,” “Ombuds Specialist,” or the Child Welfare Complaints Office.)
If the agency does not have an appeal procedure or an ombudsman, you may decide to contact your State Liaison Officer (SLO) for child abuse and neglect. Each State has a designated State Liaison Officer (SLO) for child abuse and neglect. The SLO is responsible for ensuring the compliance to State laws and polices regarding issues such as how and when to investigate allegations of child abuse and neglect, the prosecution of alleged perpetrators, and the resolution of child custody and visitation disputes. It is best to contact the SLO only after other problem resolution procedures have been tried. If you would like to take your concerns to this level, contact information for your State’s SLO is available on the related organizations listing at http://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/reslist/rl_dsp.cfm?typeID=20&rat....
If you are concerned about your legal rights in this situation, you may want to consult with and/or obtain the services of an attorney who practices in the area of family law in your State. If you need assistance in locating and/or paying for an attorney, the American Bar Association (ABA) provides a lawyer referral service at http://www.abanet.org/legalservices/lris/directory/home.html (scroll to the bottom of the page for a map of the U.S. which links to local resources) and the Consumers’ Guide to Legal Help at http://www.abanet.org/legalservices/findlegalhelp/home.cfm provides pro bono attorney referrals and more. In addition, the following ABA website may also be of assistance, especially to anyone needing free legal help: http://apps.americanbar.org/legalservices/findlegalhelp/faq_freehelp..... This site provides links to: free, State legal hotlines for individuals to call and speak to a lawyer; pro bono services for special populations; “unbundled" legal services (which means that individuals can handle part of the legal work themselves to save costs); and links to legal forms.