What Happens After CPS Files A Petition Against Me In Court?

If The Child Has NOT Been Removed From The Home On An Emergency Basis

After a report is INDICATED and CPS or ACS files a petition in Court, the Court will set a date for the individuals named in the report to appear in Court and answer the allegations against them. At the first appearance, CPS or ACS may consent to the child continuing to live in the parents’ home during the Court proceedings. In the alternative, the agency may ask the Court to order that the child be placed in foster care while the Court case is pending.

At the first appearance, the Court will schedule a fact finding hearing (a trial) or a Court conference date.

If The Child HAS Been Removed From The Home On An Emergency Basis

If a child is removed from the parents’ home without a Court order, the parents are entitled to an emergency hearing. Family Court Act 1027 and 1028 mandate that an emergency hearing occur within a few days after the child is removed.

At the emergency hearing, CPS or ACS must show that the child would be placed in imminent risk of abuse or neglect if the child was returned to the parent. If CPS or ACS cannot show that the child is in imminent risk, the child will be returned to the parent. Evidence introduced at the emergency hearing must be “material and relevant”.

If CPS or ACS shows that the child is in imminent risk, the agency will place the child into foster care. The agency usually tries to place the child with the other parent or a relative (kinship foster care) before placing the child into foster care with a non-relative.

About The Author


Jessica H. Ressler has been practicing exclusively matrimonial and family law for the past ten years in New York. She is a member of the panel for attorneys for children in Westchester and Putnam Counties. She appears regularly in the New York Family and Supreme Courts representing both adults and children.