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Myths Related to Child Protective Services (CPS)

Guest Contributor

Joylynn D. Givens

CPS On-going/Prevention Supervisor

Myth: Parents cannot physically discipline their children.

Fact: Parents are allowed to discipline their children; however the discipline should not result in marks, bruises, welts, or abrasions. In addition, children cannot be disciplined using objects that cause serious harm, and should not be slapped, hit, or punched in the face or head areas.

Myth: CPS always takes children out of the home after a referral is made.

Fact: It is not always necessary to remove children from the home when CPS workers respond to a referral. Depending on the details of the case, under some circumstances parents/guardians are offered the option to sign a safety plan with the assigned worker. The safety plan provides stipulations that parents/guardians must adhere to in order to keep their child(ren) in the home. If the safety plan is violated, then there is a possibility that the child(ren) may be removed from the home.

If the alleged abuser involved in the CPS referral resides in the home with the child(ren), the alleged abuser is asked to leave the home while the incident is being investigated.

Lastly, in cases where children need to be removed from the home, the caretakers are allowed to make arrangements for their children to be placed with suitable relatives or friends. The CPS investigator will explore all possible options before a child is removed from their family or their home.

Myth: CPS doesn’t do anything when you call them and they tell the family who made the initial call.

Fact: All CPS referrals are valid and it is against CPS policy to reveal the identity of the complainant. When a referral for CPS is placed, there are 4 criteria that must be met:

1) The referral must meet the definition of abuse and neglect according to CPS Guidance;

2) The alleged victim must be under the age of 18 unless the abuse occurred prior to the alleged victim turned 18 years of age;

3) The alleged abuse must have occurred in the jurisdiction in which the call is being made and;

4) The alleged abuser must be in a caretaker role.

*Check with your local Department of Social Services to obtain the specific guidelines pertaining to discipline and child protective services in your community.

Guest Contributor

Mrs. Joylynn D. Givens is a CPS Supervisor in the state of Virginia. She received a Bachelors of Social Work with a minor in Criminal Justice from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2007, and a Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling in 2013. She is currently in the initial phases of becoming a licensed provider in the state of Virginia.

Joylynn has worked in the Human Services field for over 30 years.She began her tenure with the Richmond Department of Social Services (RDSS) as a Senior Clerk. Joylynn left RDSS in 2006, to explore additional career experiences which included working as a Residential Manager for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities, which was her most rewarding job, an Intensive In-Home Counselor, Mental Health Support Services Worker, and a Facilitator of a Diversion Program for juvenile offenders. In 2011, Joylynn returned to RDSS as a Family Services Worker in the Family Services Unit and was promoted to a Family Services Specialist in the Child Protective Services unit in 2015. Under this position, she managed specialized cases related to sexual abuse, child fatalities, and out of family investigation. On July 31, 2018 Joylynn retired from RDSS after 30.5 years of service.

Currently, Joylynn works at the Petersburg Department of Social Services in Virginia and manages staff who support residents with rent and utility bill assistance, and high risk families/households who have been referred to CPS.

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