Can CPS or ACS Enter my Home?

No, CPS and ACS cannot enter your home without your consent, emergency or a court order.

CPS caseworkers are charged with investigating claims of child abuse, neglect or maltreatment. When the New York’s Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment receives a report, a Child Protective Services (CPS) or Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) caseworker is assigned to investigate.

This starts with an emergency caseworker arriving at the home of the parties’ subject to the investigation, immediately asking to enter the home and see the child(ren) involved. Further, the parents, children and other relatives are interrogated and the children are subject to a body exam by the caseworker.

This can occur at any time of the day or night, typically always by surprise without notice. Rarely are parents fully informed of their rights by the caseworker. It is never advised that a parent engage with CPS or ACS without representation by a CPS/ACS defense attorney. As in a criminal investigation anything you say or is observed by the caseworker will be used against you as the investigation continues.

The ACS Lawsuit:

In February 2024, a class action lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York that accuses New York City, Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) of using “highly coercive tactics to illegally search tens of thousands of families’ homes every year.”

The Plaintiff’s in Gould et. al v. The City of New York allege that caseworkers from ACS violated their Fourth Amendment rights under the constitution, which protects people from unreasonable search and seizure by the government as ACS caseworkers often do not tell parents they can deny entry into their homes without a court order and threaten to take their children away if they are not allowed inside.

The lawsuit further alleges that caseworkers falsely informed parents that their home searches were required by law, threatened to call police if parents didn’t comply, and failed to inform them they had the right “to limit or revoke consent.”

These are common tactics used by CPS and ACS to obtain forced consent. In some situations a caseworker will arrive at the home with a police officer. Typically, the police officer is for the caseworker’s safety but is also easily interpreted by those under investigation that if they do not cooperate, they are subject to arrest.

The lawsuit further describes a parent experiencing “banging on her door and her neighbors’ doors and speaking with her neighbors,”. The Plaintiff reported that her children were also subjected to invasive searches that involved workers asking them to lift their clothing to check for signs of physical abuse — a routine part of CPS investigations that can leave a lasting impact. In addition, a caseworker falsely informed the parents that “the agency does not need a warrant or court order to complete a visit. Further caseworkers falsely informed parents that their home searches were required by law, and threatened to call police if parents didn’t comply.

The CPS and ACS Defense Attorney

During any CPS or ACS investigation proper representation is essential to protect the parent’s rights and the rights of teachers or child care providers in the event of an accusation.

The most common misconception is that hiring an attorney will make you look guilty. That is false. Investigating caseworkers may come across as helpful and tell you not to worry in an attempt to disarm you with a false sense of security. The CPS or ACS caseworker is not your friend.

The CPS Defense attorneys at Proto, Sachs & Brown, LLP have the legal knowledge and experience necessary to protect you and your family’s rights. Our offices are located in White Plains and Cortlandt Manor, New York in Westchester County but we also represented clients across New York State.

If a caseworker has contacted you, call our office immediately for a free initial consultation.