The Unknown Side of CPS

Child Protective Services has been an organization challenged by many people. It’s commonplace for most CPS cases to be taken to court based on the financial and ethical dilemmas that take place.

Child Protective Services / / CC BY-SA 3.0

Child Protective Services has been an organization challenged by many people. It’s commonplace for most CPS cases to be taken to court based on the financial and ethical dilemmas that take place.

On the morning of Mar. 7, 2018, a mother’s world turned upset down. From the parking lot of her apartment came the screams of her two children being taken away by Child Protective Services.  

“Mommy, where are we going?” screamed her five-year-old son. 

“It’s only temporary. Okay, sweetie? Mommy will see you soon,” she responded while strapping them in their car seats.

As she shut the car door, she watched the two most precious things in her life be driven away on that rainy morning. She felt as if her world was crashing down on her, wondering when she would see them again.

Since 1976, CPS has been assisting families all over the world. People in this profession encounter stimulating circumstances when making important decisions such as placing children in different homes. Cassie Bault, Family Case Manager Supervisor, is one such individual.

“There are times we have to face very challenging to think about circumstances and try to do our best to make the most appropriate decisions for children and families,” Cassie Bault said. “That can be a heavy load at times.”

The mission of the DCS is to lead the state’s response to allegations of child abuse and neglect and facilitate child support payments, considering the needs and values of all we serve in their efforts to protect children while keeping families together whenever possible.

“We assess by interviewing parents, children, witnesses, and anyone else pertinent to the concerns, as well as gathering other evidence such as medical records, police records, etc.” Cassie Bault said. “If additional intervention is required to help remedy the concerns of abuse or neglect, we provide services to children and their parents to assist them with gaining skills to make the necessary changes to ensure the children’s safety.”

Parents have different experiences with CPS, some being successful and others difficult.

“I personally had a bad experience with CPS,” Catherine Todd, the mother, said. “Strapping them in was the hardest part since I didn’t know what to expect for the future, and all I could do was hold back my tears. I believe that if the job is done right, CPS is helpful, but in other circumstances, kids get neglected and put in homes that aren’t safe, which was one of the scariest parts.”

It’s not just the parents that go through this process. It’s also the workers such as Cassie Bault.

My favorite memories are the several mothers who have come back to the office a long while after being involved with our agency and said thank you,” Cassie Bault said. “Expressing their gratefulness, regardless of their feelings when we first became involved, they felt our services and intervention helped them through to better times with a benefit to themselves and their children.”

With CPS trying to help every family in the cases that they are assigned, many have to go through a process that some people might not understand.

“There were two major factions working together to make sure children were safe and remained safe”, English teacher and former CPS employee Josh Bault said. “The assessment worker would ensure the safety of children by talking with them, their families, and their household members.”

Josh Bault also stated that the assessor played an essential role in the process. 

“The assessor made a determination to substantiate or unsubstantiated the allegations of abuse or neglect against the parent or guardian,” Josh Bault said. “If the allegations were unsubstantiated, then nothing further would occur. If the allegations were substantiated, then it may require the involvement of the department and the court system to ensure the continued safety of the children.”

When working in the field of social work, it can be difficult at times and can even feel fulfilling to help families in need. 

“I try to cope by compartmentalizing my workload separately from my personal/family life by being present at the moment,” Cassie Bault said. “Regarding what it is like to work in this field, this career is very rewarding.”

According to, many families involved with child welfare are suspected of child abuse or neglect. These reports can be anonymous and can be screened in and screened out depending on how much information is given before moving on with the process of getting law enforcement involved.

Studies have shown the level of trauma children who are removed from their homes go through is very high,” Josh Bault said. “They have shown that the level of trauma increases as children move from placement to placement and affects children on an emotional and mental level. Caseworkers in the field have extensive training on how to provide care for children in these vulnerable situations, but unfortunately, this cannot be done every time due to safety concerns in the child’s home or in the home of relatives.”

Since CPS staff are represented as people who transform lives for the better and for the worse, in some people’s perceptions, there has been a stigma attached to them over time.

“I can understand that there are at times negative perceptions regarding the work our agency does, but we operate under a set of laws, policies, and procedures, with the ultimate goal to ensure child safety,” Cassie Bault said.

Many future generations to come will have different views on CPS either for the better or for the worse. Even so, individuals can decide to have a change of heart. Even people who have dealt with them.

“Even though I experienced this, I’m not angry towards CPS. I truly understand it is their job since every child deserves to have a good home with safe and loving parents,” Todd said. “I don’t resent them either, I know that they are trying to do the right thing, but sometimes the right thing can hurt.”