Child Protective Services (CPS) is a branch of your state’s social services department that is responsible for the assessment, investigation and intervention regarding cases of child abuse and neglect, including sexual abuse. In all of its procedures, CPS must follow state and federal laws. CPS typically takes cases where a child has been abused or is believed to be at risk of abuse by someone who has care giving responsibilities for that child.
Some examples of names used in other states for child protective services are Department of Family Services, Department of Social Services, and Department of Youth and Family Services (DYFS). Your state may even have a different name.
First and foremost, CPS is committed to finding safety for a child within the home. In situations where the home is identified as unsafe for children, CPS’s strong preference is to remove the abuser. CPS removes children from the home only as last resort after all other options have been considered or explored.
Because child sexual abuse is a crime in all 50 states, police and law enforcement may also become involved in the investigation of child sexual abuse. The focus of law enforcement is on the person who has offended and on any criminal proceedings that are involved. The focus of CPS is on the family and on the protection of the child.