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What To Do When Child Protective Services Knocks: A Must Read for All Parents!

A Child Protective Services Whistle-blower explains what to do if CPS comes after your family.


A Child Protective Services Whistle-blower explains what to do if CPS comes after your family.

Just one month after working for Child Protective Services, I began to learn that the agency was not in the business of helping stop child abuse. I went after parents who smoked pot, who homeschooled their kids, and let their children ride their bikes. In part because of this, I left the agency and began exposing the horrendous aspects of CPS and how parents can protect their children from the agency. What I will do in this article is to teach parents what to do if CPS comes after them.

CPS Investigators are government bureaucrats with two months’ training and a tendency to overblow everything. These can be dangerous people, and they should be treated as such. Some will try to catch people off guard in order to get the “truth” out of parents and children. They may use intimidation, harassment or manipulation, because they believe that they are the hero and you are the enemy.

Educate Your Friends and Neighbors About Your Parenting Practices.

Knowing your neighbors can help prevent a problem before it starts. Noisy neighbors are many times the people who call CPS on parents. If you homeschool your kids, and don’t let your neighbors know, they may think that you’re “preventing your child from being educated” and suddenly CPS is at your door. Simply giving them a heads up can prevent a whirlwind of hell in the future. 

Teach Your Kids to Stay Calm

Tell your child never talk to a CPS investigator alone.

What To Do if They Come to Your Home

Record every interaction between yourself and CPS. It is important to always know your rights. A CPS investigator is not allowed to barge into your home unless they have a warrant – you’re protected by the 4th Amendment. Here are just a few suggestions which are presented much thoroughly in the book:

-Do not allow CPS investigators into your home.

-Ask the investigator exactly what the case is about.

-Only answer questions which are relevant to the case.

-Do not admit to any prior wrongdoings which could incriminate you.

-Try not to contradict any statements that you make.

-Do not sign any legal paperwork unless told to by an attorney.

-Do not take any drug tests unless court mandated (some children have been removed from homes because the parents smoke pot).

-Most of all: Do not assume that if you tell them everything that they’ll be “nice to you.”

If at any point you feel that you cannot answer any of these questions or are becoming too overwhelmed, remember to stay calm during the entire process. If it looks as though you may need to go to court, always hire a private family court attorney. Going to court alone is bringing a spark to a gun fight.

The reason for every one of these suggestions is explained at length in my book. For more information, go to legallykidnapped.net. And good luck!

10257847_10101407106334675_3394232571286694773_nCarlos Morales is a former Child Protective Services investigator, president and founder of Child Protective Services Victim Support, the host of the Think about Now Podcast, and a committed legal advocate for family reunification.

Since leaving his career as an investigator, he has actively helped families throughout the country fight for their children in and out of court. His pursuit of a radical overhaul for child protection programs has taken him from university lecture halls, to television and radio studios, and the pages of a variety of publications. This has culminated into the publication of his new book, Legally Kidnapped: The Case Against Child Protective Services (http://www.legallykidnapped.net/)


  1. You Sir are a Saint! I trust the *TRUTH* always comes out in the end. I count on this, through out my journey of life. I am an *Old Hippy Mom* with strong Family , morals and ethics. I am not an overly educated woman, dropped out of high school in grade 10,to hitch hike across Canada with just me and my backpack. It was a simple and safe time in the 70’s. The many lives I lived to grow to who I am today (Really Good with Myself) and the lessons that came with each,far exceeds a 4 year university go.
    I was adopted and raised in a solid good Christen home. I was young 18 when I had my Son, I found myself in a strange town, no Family and alone as his Dad left shortly after insisting we move to this far away isolated place. Still growing up and learning and learning. My Sons Dad sicked CPS on me, he was taken from me and given to his Father on a Reservation for the First Nations. Six years past, I was able to see him maybe 7 times during the six years, I got a Lawyer and fought and fought, This was MY child, this means *fight on*
    Ten years later ten years wiser. I feed on knowledge, I observe and listen, to everything everywhere. I chose to have my tubes tide. I did not wish to bring a child into this world that was constantly changing. Not so simple.
    I met a man, five years my younger. He was just a play thing to me.A temp amusement . I happily lived independently, had a good paying job, rented a nice little house. Was just loving life. Three weeks later he got down on one knee and ask me to marry him. I told him I was not *the one* that I knew he at some point would make this amazing Daddy, and should find someone younger who could give him a Family.
    I explained it took me years to decide if I really did not want any more children,had my tubes done. Went through a period of hmm did I do the right thing? Then came acceptance,calm. Yes! I was good with it, good with me.
    On a night out with him a few days later, at a bar, drinking. I have smoked pot daily since high school. I was only harming myself so I thought. I ended up having a horrible pain in my stomach and my soon to be Husband (unknown to me) rushed to me to the local hospital. After xrays and tests, blood work, the nurse came in with a huge smile. Then the word came out, *Congratulations Hunny ! Your Pregnant! *
    I didnt flinch, I explained to her she must have the wrong chart, the wrong person. Please go find my file and come back. Confused as she left, I noticed. Shortly after she returned, no smile but a confirmation I was expecting a baby.
    I have always supported womans rights and abortion , it just was not something for me. I spoke with the Dr. and voiced my concerns for this Babys Health. I partied and drank alot. I smoked pot daily. With no thought to the Father or myself I booked an abortion within hours. On the was to the operating room ,rolling down the hall on a stretcher, something hit me and I stopped everyone and everything.
    Almost eight months later, Married, in love a Beautiful Baby Girl. premature and so little. Healthy and Strong.
    Fast forward 8-9 years. Big House in the country, generous visitation with my Son. My Girl growing up simple, easy, safe from the corruption in the city. Something happened, no need for details but CPS phoned me, the Police had phoned them. They were called to my house for a minor reason. First time ever. My Husband and I were good tax paying citizens. A big part of our small town. Involved with the Church. I worked part time at the little general store to keep busy while my girl was at school. We didnt need a second income, we were very well off. I was Girl Guide Leader for our district.
    Anyway they asked if they could come talk to me, I obliged, I had nothing to hide and had done nothing wrong. My children were healthy loved, in a safe a enriching and safe *home*My daughters many friends were often congregated in my yard or in my house. There was nothing I loved more than the sound of laughing children in my house.
    I over the years had heard the CPS horror stories of people I had met through life. I had met mothers and fathers who had their child kidnapped for years! I never imagined it would happen to me.
    I welcomed them in to hear them out.They asked if they could speak to my Daughter, I told them no. they came to investigate something. I answered their questions honestly. I held open the door to see them out. Stopping me they explained, LIED saying if I did not agree to allow them into our Lives and Home for a 30 day period, they could and would take my child.
    I no longer drank, did any other drugs, I openly smoked pot obviously when the children were not around, and was the best parent I could be. I was a woman warrior and these people with ALL THIS POWER were declaring war. Battle. I was finding myself in a defensive mode against this organization forcing their way into MY HOME, MY DOMAIN , a Mother Bear who is going to kill anyone attempting to take my child!!?? Again we, I had done nothing wrong and i told them, they were wasting there time and money when there was a child somewhere out there who NEEDED HELP NOW. a child starving a child neglected, beaten etc.
    We retained a Lawyer asap, who turned out to be an idiot, telling me they were more powerful I wouldnt win, give in to their demands. I fired him on the spot. A few court appearances in to fighting them to stay out of my home and life and I would not give them 30 days period. I had done nothing wrong. My Husband had done nothing wrong.Smoking pot did not effect my parenting skills or life. I recruited my Dr. and dove into law books.sought out former CPS workers, like yourself quit after finding out the truth about how CPS works. I recorded EVERY conversation and EVERY conversation i recorded was brought up when CPS were bold face lying to the Judge.Each time I busted them. I had proved my case, but it was like the residing Judge was on the same payroll as CPS. Siding with them.Saying if I had nothing to hide , I would be cooperating. I replied it was a waste of everyones time. I had done nothing wrong!
    I fought, I won. but could see how these other people i had met who were involved with CPS got intimidated, scared threatened. Some un educated, not knowing their rights, the laws.
    I am proud to be a warrior who would kill and die for her Children against any threat. Without articles like yours, the knowledge is not out there. And good families get torn apart, damaging the child or children involved forever.
    After they finally gave up when realizing I was not giving in. They did try to come back over the next couple of years, where I told them get off my property .unless you have the police AND a warrant. They did come with the police once as *back up* Double their threat. I was having no part of it.
    Any person I have met since who are in the middle of dealing with CPS I have educated them with everything I learned.
    Thank you, please dont stop doing what you are doing. The truth will set all of us free. Blessed be. Angela D.

    • He’s an idiot. Parents who smoke pot are irresponsible and stupid! Medicinal marijuana is a ruse. There is no such thing. It is merely something written on a pad like your doctor writes Tylenol and says, now go get some over the counter. The “prescription” is neither real nor legal. It is not FDA approved. The only reason people do this is to get high. There are plenty of other ways to deal with medical issues, not anecdotal, ineffective means for the purpose of just getting high. In the 70’s plenty of us got high, and didn’t need a namby-pamby excuse. I’ve grown up and had two kids since then, and even with chronic pain have not used pot or other any meds at all (and no, I don’t drink, either). My kids are too important. And, this idiot is wrong. CPS caseworkers who make determinations about whether to even investigate are typically licensed social workers who are highly trained. Yes, they make mistakes. But when the first gripe about CPS I see on someone’s list is that they harass parents for smoking pot? Well, that stupidity just speaks for itself.

        • I don’t do any drugs and I’m a great mother to my daughters
          And now I’m being pulled through the mud
          Because my Boyfriends ex has been stalking me and doing anything and everything to try to split us apart and
          Make us miserable as she is
          Because of our happiness she is taking it out on me any way she possibly can
          So she called CPS on me
          I truly believe that the lady who’s “investigating ” me is actually the ex’s friend
          They are trying to make me look bad all because the Ex’s and my boyfriends daughter likes me and the 8 year old girl bluntly said ” I want you to be my step mommy ” I was a little shocked but flattered that she liked me so much
          The ex flipped out as if I was trying to take her place
          I told the ex I could never take her place
          That’s when all the real drama took place
          Stalking driving past my ex’s home at least 6 times a day
          She does a background check on me once or twice a week
          She has me checked on In our new home by her friend from CPS
          I’m going through the court system
          Threatening with jail time and that I will have to have CPS checking up on me and kids for 6 months – one year
          This isn’t the whole story just a little part of what’s all going on
          Between CPS and the ex

      • Those highly trained Social Workers have a Code of Ethics, and in many states licensing–and laws they must adhere to to retain their license to practice. This Code and those laws are available online.

        The ‘highly trained’ Social Worker who oversaw my families case blatantly lied in reports to the court, misquoted what people said in order to make myself and my wife look bad (primarily me), and neglected to include any reports from any service professionals that couldn’t be used in their favor.

        They acted as though they were employees of the state, and as though it was their duty to prove us incapable of raising a child, though nothing could be further from the truth. We were excellent parents. We didn’t use drugs. We weren’t unemployed. We weren’t neglectful or abusive. And, more importantly, to retain their license to be Social Workers in the state we were in they were required by law to not only tell the truth but to also treat their clients as their employer, not the state.

        In general, the same is true for the VGAL, therapists, and our state apointed attorneys, all of whom were either neglectful in their duties or blatently lied in their reports. My wives court apointed therapist said my wife couldn’t see her file, when she asked for it, and insisted that it belonged to CPS, because they were paying the bill (check the laws on that one, for WA: it’s mind blowingly crazy!).

        When I confronted our Social Worker with her lies, in our home, and insisted she needed to tell the truth, she explained that it was her job to represent the best interest of her employer, CPS; she explained that she had seen others punished or terminated for trying to tell the truth… near tears, she said, “I like my job, I don’t want to lose my job.”

        At which point I told her to finish her business and get out. I haven’t seen her since. I am no longer a parent, neither is my wife. There was nothing I could do but submit, and doing so would’ve been immoral. It would’ve amounted to giving them my permission to continue behaving the way they do. I could not do that and live with myself.

  2. Cps stole my kid in biddeford maine in 1995
    I question my self everyday and i kno on my death bed the only thing that i will regret is that i didnt go on a shooting spree then Maybe it might have prevented other kidnappings by that fiendish agency.

  3. My husband and I have a small, modest 3 bedroom house, 2 vehicles that were manufactured in the 90’s, and we work hard for everything we’ve ever had in life. My husband works at a pallet mill making 8.50 an hour to carry logs, cut them into the boards needed and then nail the pallets together that are used to ship practically everything from groceries to transformers. On that 8.50 an hour he brings home between two and three hundred a week and we were raising our FIVE children on that. Our kids get Medicaid, that is the extent of our government assistance. So please don’t think we are living off the government and have the nerve to complain type. We have to live modestly and budget but we have always taken care of our family. Our lives revolve around our children’s happiness, well-being, and success in life. We have 4 daughters ages 9, 7, 6, and 4 and a son age 2. I’ve been with them since the day I gave them life and now I’m struggling to continue living without them here. I haven’t seen or spoken to them in over 7 months and when I ask about visitation, I’m told I have a no contact order. I’m not a perfect person or parent, but my mistakes have never endangered or hurt my children and do not warrant what has happened. Since 2010, I have had to fight to either keep my children or get them back every single year. They receive anonymous reports for the same thing every time: Abuse and drug use. I’ve taken a drug test every year at least once and I have never failed one. When they came out in April of 2015, I told them that I wasn’t doing this anymore because the only abuse to my children was from the state of Mississippi with their harassment. Taking the drug tests, I have to pay for the test itself as well as the transportation costs. So I refused a hair follicle drug screening that was going to cost us $260 (130 each). Not to mention, they wanted us to drive 60 miles away to have it done and after the cost of gas and the babysitter for us to go have it done is added, it would have cost more than my husband makes on his entire paycheck. That refusal resulted in losing custody of my children for suspicion of drug use. The insanity doesn’t end there though. The people that CPS deemed to be fit and worthy of caring for my children (3 homes) have been convicted, collectively, of possession of a controlled substance, child abuse, and multiple DUIs. That aside, my 2 younger daughters have been placed with a man not only with a drug charge conviction, but who has a son who molested my older 2 girls. He is still having a relationship with the son and in doing so, putting my daughters at risk for sexual abuse. His daughter had two kids herself before turning 17. The first pregnancy was a result of him leaving a 17 and 18 year old boy in control of the daughter and his adoptive son while he and his wife went to the bar. They were playing truth or dare and when the girl was dared to perform oral sex on one of the boys they threatened and intimidated her until she agreed. Then she was ultimately raped. The next weekend the same scenario playing out, she was raped again by the other boy. As jaw dropping as that story is, the girl found out she was pregnant from the middle school nurse two weeks before her father found out from her pregnancy belly. The sad part is she was already 7 months along.
    When they took custody, my kids were at their grandparents’ house except for my infant son who was with me grocery shopping. The CPS is so sure that my children are in imminent danger they are needed to take custody from me, but they don’t wait for our return, and they don’t come back for another week. And when they did come back, they only needed to check on him. After a court hearing the following Monday, they sent deputies out to get possession of my son. I have been haunted for almost 8 months of the look on his little face when the cop took him from my arms. He was terrified and I was crying hysterically. FOR NOT BEING FINANCIALLY ABLE TO COMPLY WITH THE DEMANDS OF CPS. Feeling completely helpless, I still convinced myself that I had done nothing wrong and righteous would prevail. That once I was able to go to court, I would have my babies back. Those assurances set me up for the disappointment of a lifetime. I’m not sure how many court hearings they have had because I was not informed of court dates, I cannot defend myself against their claims because they have not told me what the allegations against me are, and although I have tried endlessly to work with CPS to get my kids back, I cannot even get a simple phone call returned. I have been to the office but no one will come out and speak with me and the secretary says I have to leave a message and wait for their call. They substantiated the allegations of abuse based on testimony from people who have not seen my kids in months or even years!!! No bruises, pictures of bruises, fractures or even old fractures. Just NO EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER!! And I wasn’t even given the opportunity to defend myself or even go to court for that matter. When I told the judge of not being informed of court dates the CPS worker said they didn’t have my address. The same people who found their way to my door to take my kids doesn’t have the address and the judge thought this was an acceptable answer. They’ve successfully kept me in the dark until February 23, and I was so ready because of all the research I had done. I was hopeful because every thing I had found said this was illegal. When I told the judge that Mississippi code requires that a physician testify of bodily harm before they can convict, we were given an evidentiary hearing and then moving to circuit court. No one said that they were going to be terminating my rights in circuit. I found this out today and that’s only a little more than 3 weeks away. Our financial situation hasn’t changed and so I couldn’t afford to hire one if I was able to find someone to represent me in the first place. I have reached rock bottom as they say, and this is my plea for help. Anyone who has legal advice, ideas for the next step, or even just words of encouragement maybe if you are like me and clueless. I’m pulling a blank. Everything I’ve ever done right is in those kids and stolen away from me. Everything beautiful and good has left. My whole validation of existence has been snatched away and I am innocent. I feel like the entire planet had all the air sucked away and I struggle to breathe….
    Sent from my Windows Phone

  4. Mr. Morales, what advise would you give parents about how to respond when a licensed health care provider threatens to call CPS, for instance when they decline things for their newborn at a hospital? A vaccine or vitamin k injection?

    • I never understand why you wouldn’t want to give your child a vaccine or the vitamin K injection. Do you want your child to die of a horrible disease that could have been prevented? Do you want your child to potentially bleed out? What is with people like you?

      • Beth, she was asking a fair question. Not that she is doing this and even if she is, she is just asking. There are a lot of people who are now against vaccinating their children because of the risks and the ingredients of the vaccines. I worry about the same things. I would never let my daughters get the HPV vaccine, does that make me a horrible person. No, I researched this vaccine and I am not going to allow this to be put into my children. It’s gettting more risky by the year. Why all of a sudden so many Autistic children, or ADHD children, it’s like an epidemic, it has to be something causing it.
        I think that each state has rules about vaccines and K injections and they should be checked. CPS is not always bad, but more and more cases direct us to think that they are in a power play, if they don’t take the kids and something happens they are at fault, crazy I know. Too many kids are taking out of homes they should never be taken out of if there is no proof of drugs, abuse, or whatever else that is really bad for children. But in so many cases nothing is wrong and they still take them and if someone calls CPS on someone because they are mad at the people or whatever, that report should be investigated for validity. But anyway, Rosanna, it is different in states, so check your state and see if you are in fact talking about yourself. Make sure they don’t give your baby the HPV (Gardasil) vaccine, it’s dangerous.

        • Beth, how about you actually research. Do you regularly shoot your newborn infant with illegal drugs or let Hep B positive people have sex with your newborn? If you are not positive for Hep B as a mother, then how exactly do you think your newborn is going to end up with Hep B? That’s the vaccine they inject your newborn with at birth.
          Now lets talk about the “Vitamin” K shot they shoot your newborn with. One God created infants with low Vitamin K for a reason, because their liver is not able to process a large amount at birth, but lets instead shoot up over 10,000 times the amount that an adult can handle into a newborn, who unless there’s been a traumatic birth, absolutely does not need any extra vitamin K at birth. What a mother can do, is be eating foods high in Vitamin K before giving birth, instead of allowing the hospital to immediately cut the umbilical cord, instead let all the blood that’s in it to actually go into the baby, it takes aprox. 15-30 minutes, until the placenta stops pulsating, so all the newborns blood is actually transferred to them.
          Have you ever noticed just how many newborns are jaundice? It’s because of the Vitamin K shot, because the liver cannot handle it.
          Now if you want to discuss the other vaccines, we can discuss those to, since it’s obvious you’re not educated, but instead just take your uneducated drs word on it. Take a look at how much education they give med students on vaccines and then look at who pays for that particular education. If vaccines are so safe, why can we not sue pharmaceutical companies, drs, or nurses who administer vaccines? Oh you didn’t know you couldn’t sue them for vaccine injury or death, no my dear you cannot! There’s a tax added onto every vaccine, and that tax goes into a special account. If a person is educated enough to understand that there’s been damage or death from the vaccine, they hire a lawyer, and go to what is called Vaccine Court, if found in their favor, they will be rewarded from that tax. Currently families have been paid over 3.6 BILLION (yes BILLION) dollars for vaccine injury and/or death, but that’s right, vaccines are safe!
          This generation of children have a shorter life span expectancy than their parents, do a little research and see the last time that happened? Kids are sicker today than ever before, from chronic illnesses, allergies (btw vaccines are created in peanut oil…hence why so many now have a peanut allergy, not to mention many have aborted fetal tissue, monkey kidney cells, bovine tissue, thermosil (which is a subtype of mercury btw), aluminum, just to name a few ingredients.
          Don’t even attempt to “lecture” parents on their informed choices, when YOU are the one not informed, and definitely not educated.

          So Beth, what is it with people like you? People who are too lazy to educate themselves.

  5. I think it depends on the area. I was a cps worker and we didn’t remove for Marijuana. I’m saddened by some of your stories. We never denied visits or calls either. Maybe those workers were on a power trip.

  6. in OR, we lived in a building with meth users. they had TWO kids. wen cps came, they also hauled out tubs with pot plants growing. those parents N. E. V. E. R. lost the kids for even one nite.
    boggles the mind.

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  10. This is all so sad and ridiculous. When my very articulate and intelligent son came forward and told authorities that he was being molested by his high risk father on visits, CPS refused to investigate and said it was a family court issue. They never came out to interview my kid. Why are some of you, who are perfectly fine, loosing your kids, but kids who are being sexually assaulted are ignored? What can be done?

  11. My heart breaks for you all. My story is the exact opposite. My very articulate son told authorities that his biological father had been molesting him. CPS refused to investigate and said it was a “family court issue” even though our divorce had been finial for MANY YEARS. This has caused more chaos, conflict and financial devastation as lawyers argue what really may or may not have happened. This all could have been prevented if CPS would have done their job and at least followed protocol and interviewed the kid and parents. What can be done in situations like this?

    • Unfortunately it can cut both ways. So sorry you had to go through that “Lots of questions”. I pray that your son is able to heal and that you with the help of lawyers can keep him safe going forward. It is really difficult to prove molestation of a child. Was a foster parent, the burden of the law prevented one of my little ones from her justice as well. Broken hearted for yours and others.

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  13. In every career, there are people who do not do a good job. But in the case of this particular job, it’s critical to have thoughtful, caring, thorough investigations of the truth not half way job performance or an abuse of power. In many (if not most) cases the CPS workers try very hard to do the right thing by children. Sometimes they are constrained by the law. Only a few states allow pot so if you are not in one of those states, you are at risk if you use it. That is an individual choice you must make, weighing the possible detriments of that choice. Perhaps move if it is important to you to use pot and parent. Particularly since the current federal regime seems to want to continue the useless drug war. So perhaps vote Libertarian next time as well if you did not already. But, as noted, in many cases the CPS staff fail to preserve the family & protect the child. This article’s suggestions are wonderful. First, know your rights (i.e. 4th amendment), hire your own lawyer, ask the specific complaint, don’t let them in until you talk to a lawyer et al. Don’t assume CPS is your friend, but neither assume they are the enemy, although it’s best to treat them respectfully as the enemy until you know what the complaint is = but remember Offense is the best defense. Set up a time for an appointment in their office after you discover what the complaint is. Talk to a lawyer before the appointment. Take a micro recorder & record the meeting. I too had a complaint raised by a school official which turned out to be their attempt to get my child out of their school. My son actually introduced Trust Based Relational Intervention parenting techniques to the CPS worker when she went to question him at school. She knew pretty quickly that the complaint was unfounded (no bruises, well equipped parent with special skills for special needs child). She apologized, and took the video I offered her to help other parents she works with to use the TBRI technique. She was new (less than a year) and was struggling. We had a healthy discussion that I believe benefited her regarding her work and how once she moved out of “intake” into “reunification” she would be able to see a more beneficial side of the CPS business. I encouraged her to talk to the most senior person available about how to get through the first year. So God used a negative to make a positive in my opinion. About a year later she called me and said I was right that it is better when she got to put families back together instead of tearing them apart. Many of the workers are just like you & me, and have deep feelings about a very difficult but necessary job. However, it was a very tough week for me and my son. We home school now. I keep a ledger of our school assignments & schedule. I hired a tutor (with a specialty degree in dyslexia) to teach him reading, writing & spelling, both because he needed it and because having a third party helping you teach is prima facie evidence that you are getting the child’s educational needs met. Luckily our state is fairly hands off of home schooling. But, be aware like the article said. Good article. Most of the CPS workers I worked with during my time as a foster parent (10 years) were excellent and tried very hard to help the kiddos & to reunite the family if possible. Simply stating to them that you know they have a hard job can go a long way to make things more reasonable. They have laws/rules that they are required to follow. This is where the lawyer helps you to sort out what you “should do” from what is not required. I pray that no one else has to go through this, but if you do = be ready as the article says.