Can a CPS Case Show Up on My Background Check?

June 22, 2023
South Jersey DYFS Attorneys at the Law Offices of Theodore J. Baker Advocate for Parents Facing Child Abuse Allegations
South Jersey DYFS Attorneys at the Law Offices of Theodore J. Baker Advocate for Parents Facing Child Abuse Allegations

If you have been investigated by child protective services (CPS), also known as the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP), it is fair to wonder how it will affect your record and if it would show on a background check.  Background checks are crucial to your future, especially when seeking employment or housing.

Many employers run background checks before hiring but do not check the same backgrounds. For instance, jobs involving women, children, and health care patients require background checks for CPS cases and criminal cases. Other jobs check your credit report and employment history or run a check on everything, like some federal jobs. Background checks are also done for jobs that require specific certifications to be hired.

There are two different types of records you are most concerned about: the CPS record held and managed by the CPS and your criminal record. Here are some main points concerning CPS investigations and criminal charges:

  • The length of a CPS investigation is generally completed around 45 days. Some cases can take longer, upwards of a year.
  • If the CPS investigation was “unfounded,” meaning that the report found the incident untrue and no charges were filed, it will not show on a criminal record. However, the report itself will remain on CPS records for 10 years in many cases. In New Jersey, unfounded reports are immediately eligible for expungement from the CPS record.
  • If the CPS investigation is “founded,” and charges have been filed, it will appear on a criminal background check and CPS records. If the case finds no wrongdoing, it will not appear on a criminal background check but will remain on CPS records.
  • If convicted, the CPS case will remain on both records for up to 10 years in many cases after the youngest child in the CPS report turns 18 years of age.

How Does a CPS Investigation Work?

A CPS investigation begins when you are accused of child abuse by your spouse, neighbor, teacher, or doctor. Child abuse is usually considered physical or emotional abuse, isolating a child, neglect, or sexual abuse. A CPS caseworker contacts you within two or three days of the initial filing.

You are not legally required to cooperate with CPS unless they have a court order, but it is in your and your family’s best interest to do so. They will work to resolve the problems you and your child are having. They will have conversations and interviews with those who live at the house, especially the child. They may physically examine your child as well. The investigator will also look into your records and review the entire situation.

After it is completed, the investigator will check in with CPS on what, if any, further actions are needed. It may be found to send the police for prosecution or a social worker if the case is not immediately serious. The social worker will then implement a safety plan for you and your family.

However, you should speak with a lawyer before signing the safety plan. A lawyer can review all aspects of the safety plan, the CPS investigation, and any other issues you have involving the case.

Furthermore, speaking with a lawyer shows your cooperation with CPS, which is essential to get the CPS case closed as quickly as possible. You want to show that you are willing to accept help and comply with CPS by providing requested documents or answering questions when asked.

South Jersey DYFS Attorneys at the Law Offices of Theodore J. Baker Advocate for Parents Facing Child Abuse Allegations

If you have been accused of child abuse, be aware that the entire process is complicated, and you may get into serious trouble. Our South Jersey DYFS attorneys at the Law Offices of Theodore J. Baker are here to help you today. Call us at 856-210-9776 or fill out our online form for an initial consultation. Located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, we serve clients in South Jersey, including Haddonfield, Marlton, Medford, Moorestown, Mount Laurel, and Voorhees.

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