ACS or CPS will conduct its investigation into the report of abuse or neglect.
A report of child abuse or neglect can have two outcomes.
The first outcome is that the case can be determined to be UNFOUNDED. This means that the ACS or CPS investigator has found no credible evidence that abuse or neglect of the child has occurred.
The second outcome is that the case can be determined to be INDICATED. This means that the ACS or CPS investigator found some credible evidence of abuse or neglect.
Only a Court can make a judicial determination of whether abuse or neglect have occurred; the CPS or ACS investigator is not the finder of fact. An indicated report does not mean that the Court will determine that abuse or neglect have occurred.
When a CPS investigation begins, a petition is not automatically filed with the Court. A petition is filed by CPS or other authorized agency if the report is INDICATED after investigation. Then, CPS will file a petition for child abuse or neglect. Only a child protective agency or a person directed to file such petition by the Court may initiate a child protection action in Court.
Can CPS OR ACS Remove My Child From My Home?
If CPS or ACS determines during the investigation that a child is at imminent risk of abuse or neglect, CPS or ACS may remove the child from his or her home. Family Court Act Section 1024 allows the agency to remove a child even without a Court order.
If a child is removed from his or her home, the parents or other caregivers are entitled to an emergency hearing in Court to try to have their child returned to their home immediately.