Who are Child Protective Services And What Do They Do?

Child Protective Services

This is an agency run by the government in most of the United States. The people who work for Child Protective Services will respond to any and all reports that they get of child neglect or abuse. This organization is also known in some states as Department of Social Services or Department of Children & Family Services.
According to Wikipedia there are a few federal laws that CPS agencies are governed by. They are:
• Indian Child Welfare Act
• Adoption and Safe Families Act
• Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act
• 42 U. S. C. Section 1983 and circumstantially 1985
• Multi-Ethnic Placement Act

As early as 1690 there were criminally tried court cases for child abuse in the U.S. As we were still under the rule of England then, England created a legal principle known as parens patriae which basically said that is there were any charities, idiots, infants or lunatics then they were to be cared for by the crown and “returned to the chancery”. This was the basis for the U. S. government to get involved in what happens behind closed doors in regards to children.

Effects of Abuse

There is a risk of psychological problems developing in children who have experienced abuse. This may be sexual abuse, mental abuse, physical abuse, psychological neglect and even physical neglect. These children are also more at risk of developing something called a disorganized attachment which has been linked to many problems developmentally. These can include but should not be limited to depression, acting out, dissociative problems and anxiety.


If you know or suspect that a child is being abused or neglected in any way, you are obligated by law and by morality to report it to the authorities. While a child may be removed from the home, the main goal of the CPS is to reunite the child with the family after the abuser has been either removed from the situation or rehabilitated. There are cases though where the children are never allowed to come back depending on the type of abuse and whether or not court orders were not adhered to.


In 2009, there were more than 2.5 million cases of child neglect or abuse that were reported in the U. S. Out of that 2.5 million, only 61.9% were actually investigated. Beyond that, 22% were actually re-reported and out of that number, 7% of these re-reports were substantiated.

Bottom Line

The thing about CPS is that they are supposed to be here to protect children from neglect and abuse. What they do not tell you is that when you try to report someone, they ask you what you have done personally to stop the neglect or abuse. Beyond that, they have been known to take children away from people who didn’t deserve to have their children taken. Yes, if you know of neglect or abuse you should report it. Expect to have to answer some tough questions though when you do.

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