What Rights Do Parents Have When Involved With Child Protective Services?


Quick Answer

When involved with Child Protective Services, a parent retains parental rights if there is not clear and convincing evidence that the parent is unfit to raise a child, according to ParentalRights.org. A parent also has the right to a timely investigation of matters involving the welfare of their children.

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Full Answer

CPS cannot override a parent's wishes as to a child's religious or educational upbringing, according to ParentalRights.org. In addition, in Reno v. Flores, the court said that, even with CPS involvement with the family, parents need to provide only minimal care in order to raise their children. The best interests of the child fall below the parent's right to raise their own children, provided that the parents provide the child minimal levels of appropriate care.

In the court case Santosky v. Kramer, the U.S. Supreme Court said that parents have an interest in raising their own children, even if relationships in the family strain as a result. Similarly, in the court case Quilloin v. Walcott, the U.S. Supreme Court said that a parent has the right to raise their child as the parent sees fit, despite CPS involvement, unless CPS proves that the parent is unfit to raise the child. A parent has the right to make decisions about their child, even if the child disagrees with the decisions, as long as the parent's decision is not abusive or neglectful to the child, says ParentalRights.org.

In the state of Michigan, a Child Protective Services investigation must begin within 24 hours of an abuse allegation. CPS must complete the investigation within no more than 30 days, explains the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. In extenuating circumstances, CPS may extend the time period for completing an investigation.

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