What to Expect from a Visit from Child Protective Services
Unfortunately, New Mexico has a bad reputation for child welfare. The Annie E. Casey Foundation publishes a report every year on how the 50 states rank in terms of child well-being, and this report ranked New Mexico as 49th overall. While the report includes other data, such as education and socioeconomic well-being, the fact remains that reports of child abuse went up in New Mexico between 2011 and 2012, from 31,932 to 32,515, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. A large portion of these reports were eventually proven to be false.
Unfortunately, accusations of abuse are often used as a legal weapon in divorce and custody battles, resulting in emotional trauma for the children and reputation damage to parents who are falsely accused. The same report from HHS states that of the 32,515 reports of child abuse in 2012, about half (16,236) were determined to be unfounded.
Without evidence of abuse, an allegation will not be acted upon. However, in order to investigate the situation, Child Protective Services (in New Mexico, called the Children, Youth, and Families Department) will perform a home visit. If you find yourself in this situation, contact a child abuse attorney to prepare you for this visit, as well as to represent you with the CYFD, and in court if necessary.
Preparing for the Home Visit
A visit from the CYFD is both nerve-wracking and terrifying. The threat of losing custody of your children is very real. To achieve a favorable outcome, it is strongly advised that you get help from a lawyer before the agency visits your home. Having an attorney at your side can help ensure that your rights are not violated. CYFD workers could stretch the truth or exaggerate various situations. Preparing for this event with the help of an attorney could not be more important with regard to how the case unfolds.
A New Mexico Child Abuse Attorney Can Help
At New Mexico Criminal Law Offices, we are familiar with the legal issues associated with a home visit from CYFD. Our attorneys are experienced in handling child abuse cases, and will do everything possible to ensure that your child is not removed from your custody — where he or she belongs. Unfortunately, in cases where abuse claims arise in a divorce, children have been known to say things that are untrue. Do not take the risk of fighting child abuse accusations without reviewing your case with an attorney.