Legal Question in Family Law in California

How is it that a parent or parents who have their children taken away by CPS (or whichever agency removes children) seem to not get criminally charged and also do not have to pay back any money after they do or do not receive their children back? How is that the system allows for them to not be held responsible for their actions?

Asked on 5/21/13, 2:51 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Timothy McCormick Libris Solutions - Dispute Resolution Services

1. They may or may not be criminally charged. Conduct that calls for CPS intervention is not always conduct that constitutes a crime. The laws governing CPS intervention are not in the Penal Code, although conduct that is in the Penal Code that involves children will almost always give rise to CPS intervention as well. Think of the laws that make conduct toward your children a crime as a small circle, and conduct that warrants CPS intervention a bigger circle around it. 2. Why would they pay money? CPS is a public welfare service (in theory at least). Do we charge people for their welfare after they get off welfare? For their food stamps after they get off food stamps? Of course not. CPS is not a penal program, it is a service to protect children from parents who are incapable for whatever reason from caring for them properly, and providing reunification services to assist the parents in becoming proper parents and able to care for their children so the children can be returned to them, or if the parent simply can never overcome their deficiencies, then to place the children in foster care. Why would we charge them for that any more than we charge for other public welfare services. And even if it were a penal program, do we bill prisoners for room and board after they get out? Of course not; so why would we charge people money who haven't even been convicted of a crime?

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Answered on 5/21/13, 3:14 pm

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