Facing a false report to Child Protective Services (CPS) can be distressing and overwhelming. However, it is not a situation that you can simply ignore and hope that it goes away. If you find that allegations have been made against you and you know they are unwarranted, you should take immediate action to protect your rights.

Receiving a notice that someone has filed a CPS report against you will understandably cause a shock. But it’s crucial to stay calm and composed. If you haven’t done anything to warrant the allegations, then it’s not going to serve you to panic or overreact about them. The last thing you want to do is become overly defensive and potentially escalate the situation when you are under the microscope.

The first thing that I would suggest is contact your attorney, or if you don’t have one already find a competent family law attorney who knows how to navigate matters with CPS. The case worker assigned to the allegation will contact you and look to schedule an interview. Do not react in a hostile manner, remember they are just people doing their job, instead calmly forward them your attorney’s contact information and let them set up an interview.

Next, make sure that you have both your evidence and your references lined up to clear your name of the allegations. Evidence can include things like medical records, school records, video, and audio recordings. References can be anyone who can speak against the allegations against you. What you need will specifically depend on the allegations against you. But the more you have ready during the interview that will refute the allegations, the more likely it is that things will go smoothly for you.

Refusing to cooperate with the case worker during the interview will not do you any favors. I tell my clients, unless I start treating them like an enemy, you should not treat them like an enemy. You don’t want to give them any reason to believe that you are what the reporting party says you are. Refusing to cooperate or acting in a hostile manner is likely to raise suspicions and may prolong the investigation.

Make sure that you keep detailed records of all interactions with CPS. This can include phone calls, emails, interviews, and text messages with the case worker. Make sure that you send any and everything over to your attorney as well. You will benefit by making sure that they are as up to date as possible with the investigation.

If CPS determines that the allegations are unfounded, they will likely close the case without issue. And though they won’t disclose who made the report against you, reports are no longer anonymous. What this means is that if the same party makes another false report in the future, they will take the appropriate actions on their end.