cpsIn the United States, Child Protective Services is a governmental agency run on the state level that was created to respond to reports of child abuse and neglect. Each state has its own CPS practice, where CPS workers respond to the over 2.5 million reports of child maltreatment in the country each year. Here are some frequently asked questions to better understand CPS and its workers.

What is Child Protective Services?

Child Protective Services (CPS) promotes the safety and well-being of children through intervention in reported child abuse cases. The goal of CPS is to keep children in their homes when it is deemed safe, and to provide them with a safe environment when they are determined to be at risk.

What are the Roles of CPS Workers?

CPS workers have a wide range of roles that they must play on a day-to-day basis. Firstly, they must do a lot of desk work, receiving and evaluating reports of child abuse cases, most of which are made over the phone. They then must use reasoning and investigative skills to determine if the child is at risk. If so, then CPS workers counsel and rehabilitate the child and family. They often provide support for each family for up to one year. If a child cannot be put back into their home, then workers also must coordinate an adoptive home, foster parents, or refer the child and their family to other support services.

What do CPS Workers Do?

CPS workers follow a standard protocol when responding to a child abuse report. First, they must assess the safety of the child. If the child’s immediate safety is not at risk, then the worker will work with the family to reduce the risk of future maltreatment and help the child cope with the effects of previous maltreatment.

If the child’s environment is deemed a risk to their well-being, then the CPS worker will intervene to protect the child from harm. The child typically goes to a foster home as counseling begins. While the goal of the CPS worker is to be able to reunite the child with their family after intensive counseling, they also begin to develop a concurrent plan. This means seeking out a safe adoptive home for the child.

How do CPS Workers Keep Children Safe?

CPS workers are very educated on seeing the signs of child abuse and neglect, and they know how to respond to every unique situation. So when a child is deemed to be at immediate risk of abuse, the CPS worker will take the child from their home and place them with a foster family. Workers then begin counseling the family, in hopes of reuniting the child and parents. However, when the family is uncooperative or does not seem to make progress, CPS will coordinate a new home for the child.

What Guiding Principles Do CPS Workers Follow?

CPS has several basic philosophical tenets that their workers follow. These are as follows: The best place for a child to grow up is in a safe and permanent home. When adequately supported, most parents can be good parents. Families requiring assistance from CPS agencies are diverse. CPS agencies are accountable for child safety and family well-being. CPS efforts are most effective when clients are involved in the process. When parents cannot take care of and protect their children, CPS must intervene on the child’s behalf. When a child must be placed in out-of-home care, CPS will work to find a safe and permanent home as quickly as possible.

What is the Most Important Aspect of a CPS Worker’s Job?

The most important duty of a CPS worker is to ensure the safety of children. Since the agency believes that the best place for a child to grow up is in a safe and permanent home, they first work to counsel the child’s birth family. When this is not possible, however, then they must find an adoptive family that will provide a safe and permanent home.

Child Protective Services is a very important agency that focuses on protecting the safety and well-being of children and youth throughout the country. Since workers must provide support to both children and their families, they are often required to have a background in counseling or psychology. They also must complete two year of clinical training. The job of a CPS worker can be stressful with high risk of “burn out” but many find rewarding careers in the field.