Seven Avoidable Legal Mistakes CPS Investigators Make
Seven attorneys give their observations and understandings of the avoidable legal missteps that child protective services investigators take:
- CPS interviewers sometimes view a child’s anti-social or hurtful behavior as evidence that the child is not a trustworthy reporter of abuse.
- Assuming that the CPS investigator will be allowed to testify in place of the child at a criminal trial is an avoidable legal mistake.
- Even though CPS investigators are invariably well-meaning, they tend to form an opinion quickly as they investigate a case and to neglect alternative explanations and motives to fabricate.
- One avoidable mistake CPS investigators make is harboring unintended bias, particularly in the sense that investigators may have a tendency to be less than objective due to a prior relationship.
- Despite the obvious potential for civil or criminal litigation, investigators often prepare reports that summarize witness accounts rather than obtain verbatim recorded statements.
- Too often CPS investigators do not take into account contextual information or actually investigate to find collateral witnesses.
- The problem with assigning a caseworker to investigate child abuse is that a caseworker has a conflict of interest.
This article originally appeared in Policy & Practice, August 2015.[gview file=”https://www.childlaw.us/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/APHSA-Seven-Legal-Mistakes.pdf”]