Handling an Investigation
The legal rights resources in this section focus on New York City and State. The American Bar Association website has state-specific “Know Your Rights” guides for parents who have had their children removed from their home.
- How to Access NYC Early Representation: Legal Support for Parents During an Investigation or Family Crisis
If CPS has been called on you or if you are worried a report may be made, there are organizations you can call for legal representation during an investigation. All of the NYC parent defense organizations have early defense teams that can assist parents, try to prevent an ACS case, and provide information so parents know their rights and understand the process.
- Your Family, Your Rights: This advocacy site by Brooklyn Defenders Services is for families navigating the family regulation system. It provides information about how ACS investigations work, how to connect with advocates who can guide parents through the investigation process and how to get involved with parents who are working to transform the system.
- How Early Legal Representation Can Protect Families
By Careena Farmer, Melissa Landrau, Sara Werner and Keyna Franklin
- Know Your Rights During an Investigation (Videos)
Nancy Fortunado, Rise Senior Parent Leader and lawyers from Brooklyn Defenders Services and The Bronx Defenders provide information for parents about your rights during a child welfare investigation.
Part 1: Information on the difference between abuse and neglect
Part 2: Information about the investigation process, tips, and your rights
- Know Your Rights: State Central Register “SCR”
The State Central Register is a database that maintains a record of all reports of child abuse and/or maltreatment (neglect) based on calls made to New York State’s central hotline. If you receive notice of an indicated report, you have the right to request a hearing within 90 days of the notice. Learn more about why and how to request a hearing in this flyer from Manhattan Legal Services, available in English, Spanish and Chinese.
Issues, Guides and Series
- Fighting for Our Rights: Series about parents’ legal rights and representation, as well as related legislation to protect families
- Surveillance Isn’t Safety: Series that exposes the harm of punishing parents instead of addressing the root causes of child welfare involvement, provides information that parents can use to advocate for their families and communities and highlights efforts to target community conditions instead of families.
- Facing an Investigation: This issue offers guidance from parents and professionals on handling an investigation.
- ‘It’s OK to Need Support’: A parent-to-parent guide to family support services
- Stepping Into Fatherhood: A parent-to-parent guide for fathers
- Out in Front: When my family was investigated, I was terrified but I took charge
By Samantha Ruiz
Interviews and Opinion
- What You Should Know About Child Safety Conferences
By Bevanjae Kelley
- The Do’s and Don’ts of Parenting While Poor
By Sharkkarah Harrison
Read interviews and access resources about parents’ legal rights and related information.