Know How To Respond When Contacted By Social Services In Colorado
It is frightening and confusing to learn that someone suspects you of child abuse or neglect. Your initial instinct may be to panic or get angry. Instead, the best thing you can do is stay calm and contact someone who can provide you with sound legal advice.
In the Denver metro area, you can find that skilled legal advice by contacting Pickard Law, P.C. Our firm practices both family law and criminal defense, and we have considerable experience helping clients through child abuse and neglect investigations.
What To Do When You Receive A Surprise Visit From A Caseworker
One of the unsettling aspects of a child welfare investigation is the likelihood that a caseworker may make an unannounced visit to your home. When this happens unexpectedly, you may not know what your rights and obligations are.
First of all, if a caseworker appears at your home without an appointment, you do have the right to ask for the interview to take place at another date. Here are three important tips to remember:
- You do not need to let a caseworker into your home unless they already have a court order or believe that your children are in immediate danger.
- You do not need to consent to drug testing or any other kind of testing at that first meeting.
- You do not need to sign anything before consulting with a lawyer.
Although the meeting can be rescheduled, you will likely be very curious to know why you are being investigated and what the specific allegations are. Therefore, you may want to have an initial conversation that day. We recommend contacting our firm for advice and counsel about your social services case, but it is generally fine to have an initial meeting before contacting an attorney.
Social Services May Want To Speak To Your Children
Depending on the ages of your children and the specific allegations, a caseworker may want to meet them and ask questions directly. They likely won’t ask to talk to your children in the house, but if they do, you can refuse (unless they have a court order permitting them to do so).
More often, caseworkers will visit the children at school or day care to interview them without you around. If you have advance knowledge that this is going to happen, it is a good idea to sit your children down and explain to them that someone will want to talk to them soon. Don’t tell your children what to say or “coach” their answers in any way, but at least let them know so that they aren’t surprised.
Remember To Stay Calm And Civil
If you are under investigation, how you behave toward the caseworker could influence their suspicions one way or the other. It’s important to note that social services is legally obligated to investigate all allegations of suspected child abuse, and the caseworker may not actually suspect that you are guilty. By responding calmly and nonaggressively to questions or quoted allegations, you can leave a favorable impression and avoid giving any indication that you are a danger to your kids.
Contact Our Firm For Experienced Guidance And Representation
If you are being investigated by social services, our attorneys are ready to explain your legal options, protect your rights and provide knowledgeable guidance. To get started, call our Littleton office at 303-647-1453 or fill out our online contact form.