Yes. Child Protective Services (CPS) may drug test you if you are suspected of child abuse due to the influence of drugs.
CPS is a social service agency (run by the U.S. government) that protects children. They receive and investigate child abuse and neglect cases and provide assistance to the families for their children's safety and care. They also offer many other services related to child welfare.
Table of Contents:
- What is CPS?
- Who Can Call CPS?
- Does CPS Watch You Take A Drug Test?
- What Type Of Drug Test Does CPS Use?
- CPS Drug Testing Law
- How Many Times Can CPS Drug Test You?
- What Happens If You Fail A CPS Drug Test?
- Can CPS Force You To Take A Drug Test?
- What Happens If I Get A CPS False Positive Drug Test?
Raising a child nowadays is pretty challenging. In this competitive world, parents are more depressed than anyone else to give their children the best of everything.
On the other hand, if someone complains about parents mistreating their child/children to CPS, it becomes a menace to the parents. It is not that the CPS is pressurizing the parents, but it is the fear that they might lose their child because of the drug test due to taking any prescription medications.
Yes, CPS performs drug tests to check on the parent's or guardian's health status. Several facts and misconceptions are revolving around CPS drug tests. This blog highly focuses on uprooting all the misconceptions and giving a clear picture of all the functionalities and power limits of the CPS over the drug test.
What is CPS?
Child Protective Services is a child protective agency under the government of the United States of America.
Every state in America has its own CPS agency to look over the parents' or guardians' conduct in treating children. It belongs to the state’s social service department, where investigations regarding any child abuse or mistreatment occur.
CPS' primary function is to protect children from abuse or ill-treatment by parents or guardians. They can conduct their investigations from anywhere, be it school or home.
CPS works under different names in different states. In some states, they would come under the Department of Social Services, and in some states, the Department of Youth and Family Services. Despite different names, they do carry the same responsibility of protecting the child from domestic or sexual abuse.
Below are the roles/functions of the CPS:
- To determine if any particular child had been neglected or abused by any means.
- Saving the child from any immediate danger.
- Identifying the risks of constant danger to the child and eliminating them.
- Devise a plan to cut short or eliminate the dangers revolving around the child with other states' help to protect the child by any means.
- Conduct drug tests to the families to detect any abuse or neglect due to drug addiction.
- Can check on any child at home or school without any prior notification to the parents or guardian.
- Takes necessary action against the parents or guardian in case of positive drug test results.
- Decides on the need for the family's support regarding medical care, counseling, or any other help regarding the child's protection.
Who Can Call CPS?
Anyone can report to the CPS regarding child abuse or neglect. As a citizen of the United States, you have the right to call the CPS whenever you notice any illegal practice against any child, sexual misconduct, or physical abuse that includes bruises, wounds or inflicting bodily injury, etc.
It is also a special duty placed by law on doctors, therapists, and lawyers to inform the CPS about any exploitation or abuse against any child.
Calling CPS to complain about someone is not an act of shame. For instance, if you have to report your friend or relative for child abuse, it doesn’t mean you are backstabbing them.
If you are overwhelmed by your blood relation or friendship over child abuse, you are crossing the justice. No person should escape for the sake of justice. It is a known fact that CPS-related cases are civil and do not attract heinous charges. If the respective person is found guilty, he or she would be sent to the rehabilitation center. CPS also works to conjoin the relations again if they are satisfied with the parent or guardian's conduct.
CPS will never reveal the information regarding the complainant. Some states will offer a reprisal for your act of Good Samaritan, and if you are not interested in being honored for doing your duty as a citizen, you can stay anonymous.
Does CPS Watch You Take A Drug Test?
No, CPS is not a vigilante organization or agency that will watch you, but they do ensure that you have lawfully taken your drug test.
CPS insists on a mouth swab or urine test for their drug testing. If you are undergoing a mouth swab test, CPS may have a chance to keep an eye on you. In case you are subjected to a urine drug test, they do not interrupt the individual's privacy during the collection process.
To prevent cheating, they thoroughly check the donor before allowing them into the restroom. If they identify a significant difference between the preliminary and confirmatory drug tests, they do a check during the drug test, whatever method it may be.
What Type Of Drug Test Does CPS Use?
CPS conducts a urine drug test for initial drug screening. They do a hair follicle drug test for confirmation. Once a person is involved in a CPS case, he/she will be subjected to a drug test according to the policy guidelines.
Most of the issues that come to the CPS are based on drug and alcohol consumption. For testing strategies, CPS has adopted new methodologies to scrutinize and determine a person’s illegitimate drug and alcohol usage.
If your child/children have not yet been separated from you, then a mouth swab or urine test will typically be carried out.
1. Urine Drug Screening: Urine screens are done in 90% of the preliminary CPS drug tests. This type of testing mostly relies on urine samples that are taken and tested in the labs. Frequent testing of the urine at equal intervals will help ascertain whether the patients stay away from taking drugs.
This urine screening's focused aim is common as other tests determine the evidence or trace of illicit drugs and alcohol in an individual’s body. The result will further contribute towards categorizing the individual to carry over to other processes.
2. Saliva Drug Test: CPS may go for a mouth swab test detects short-term drug abuse. A swab is used to collect saliva from your mouth.
This specimen is analyzed to detect any illicit drug(s) and alcohol in the body within the past few days. This method can be administered for all the other substances except weed, which can be detected only after 10 hours of its intake.
CPS Drug Testing Law
As per the CPS drug testing law, drug test results should be confirmed by a certified lab, verified by MRO, and permissible in court. A caseworker should drug test a parent or caregiver within 48 hours of a child safety threat if it is believed to be related to substance use. Drug testing policies vary from state to state, and investigations take place per the state’s laws.
CPS often uses drug testing as a tool to make informed decisions to address concurrent substance abuse issues and child abuse. The drug test results will help CPS in taking decisions regarding family support services, child removal, family reunion, or parental rights termination.
CPS cannot determine substance use disorder just by doing a drug test, and it may not render adequate information to confirm allegations of child abuse or neglect. They cannot determine even the disposition of a case through the drug test results alone.
They consider all the aspects of the child abuse case based on investigation reports of child abuse, child safety, risk assessments, and family and comprehensive substance abuse assessments.
How Many Times Can CPS Drug Test You?
CPS can modify the frequency of drug testing and intensity based on the input from the parents, professionals working with the family, and substance abuse treatment providers when drug testing is undertaken in many settings. The decisions are made based on the following:
- The type of substance used and the length of its detection in the body.
- Clinical diagnosis, the intensity of substance use disorder, previous drug use patterns, and changes in physical appearance and affect.
- Whether the parent is taking part in any residential treatment program.
- Whether the parent takes part or attends substance abuse treatment, self-help groups, recovery/support activities, and degree of cooperation with the case plan.
- Reducing or refusing to undergo substance use treatments in a consistent manner and its consequences.
- Relapse-prevention plan for the parents, such as coping strategies exercised in unsafe environments, modification of places, things, or people related to their substance use.
After getting appropriate input from the substance abuse treatment provider, including consistent negative drug testing results and approval from the supervisor, CPS may decide to stop drug testing.
If the staff member suspects that the parent may have relapsed, additional drug tests may be necessary with supervisory approval. If the court has ordered a drug test, CPS should seek advice from their supervisor and legal counsel before modifying the drug testing.
What Happens If You Fail A CPS Drug Test?
CPS does perform drug testing on parents whose children have been separated from them due to drug addiction problems. CPS administers drug tests in the following ways. Initially, a mouth swab test is administered. If the test results are positive, then a urine sample is tested. Hair samples are also collected for further clarification. These drug test results can be obtained within a day or two.
If the results are positive for a drug test, the CPS agency insists you sign the safety plan with assurance to place your child with your relative, friend, or neighbor. If you refuse the above procedure, CPS at times may file a lawsuit, but not always.
In some instances, parents may be taking drugs like painkillers or sleeping pills, which may trigger a positive result on the drug test. In such cases, CPS considers the parents to be unfit and takes the child away from them.
Can CPS Force You To Take A Drug Test?
CPS can ask you to take up a drug test if they suspect you of being taking drugs. A CPS investigator cannot force you to take a drug test unless you have consented to participate.
The investigator should have an official warrant against you to conduct a drug test. They will not give you any prior notification to undergo a drug test, and they might arrange it within a short time.
Generally, CPS officials would begin with an investigation if they receive anonymous reports regarding child abuse or child endangerment. They wouldn’t proceed further if they are unable to find any evidence supporting the claim. If they find anything suspicious, they will take the case further and require the parent to do the drug test.
Drug testing is one among the heap of issues that CPS is taking a look over. So, it is better to comply with the drug test rather than make things more complicated. If you resist taking a drug test, CPS will assume it to support one of their case findings.
Most often, parents provide unnecessary or unwanted information to CPS investigators and lead themselves into trouble. CPS investigators have worked with many parents and have vast experience in identifying any suspicions. In that case, they would recommend the parents take the drug test.
Parents should consent to proceed further with a drug test. If the parents are not comfortable with the drug testing, they can deny it, and CPS cannot force them to take a drug test unless they have a valid reason.
You cannot refuse the drug test by the CPS after they have got a warrant. If you do so, they will consider it as a positive result and proceed further, as in a drug addict. They could take your child to custody and not allow the child to rejoin you until you prove you are free from drugs.
Does CPS drug test everyone in the house?
Not certainly. CPS may drug test the guardian or parents if they suspect their drug abuse. They do not drug test everyone in the house unless there arises the suspicion that the housing environment is abusive or threatening to the children by the people present in the house.
If you are a nuclear family of three, and if someone complains about child abuse due to the influence of drugs, a CPS professional would visit your house and analyzes the complaint. If the professional is convinced that there could be possible child abuse by both mother and father, both parents might get tested except the child.
What Happens If I Get A CPS False Positive Drug Test?
A false-positive drug test occurs when a sample is considered positive by mistake despite it being clean against drugs. If you face a false positive drug test by the CPS, then according to the 14th Amendment, you can request a re-test to prove that the test result is incorrect.
It is not a wonder that sometimes CPS tests may result in false positives. In that case, if you think that it can prevent them from taking the child away, you are wrong. They take your child into custody even if it is a false positive. You can rejoin your child after their confirmatory drug tests. These tests should prove you are clean to get your child back.
There is another misconception that CPS will never take your child away if it is a false positive. Your child would be taken into custody irrespective of the result being falsely positive or true positive.
Drug testing false positive may involve specific reasons. Some of them include:
Incorrect testing methods - This is the main reason behind several false-positive drug testing. False-positive drug test results happen during preliminary drug tests. Only a confirmatory GC/MS method of testing can help you to have a clear picture.
Cross-reactivity of the compounds can lead to confusion that would have led the machines to identify false drug traces.
Everyday substances too can lead to false-positive results., A false-positive result can also occur due to a prescription drug. CPS will not consider this as a point to validate. They are compassionate towards the child’s protection and by no means will slack their rules for the sake of the child’s security.
If you are clean and got a false-positive result due to a prescription drug, then you should wait for the confirmatory test to prove that you are not guilty of getting your child back.
We have traveled through the entire process of CPS and their drug testing procedures in an effective way.
Through this, we think you have learned the areas the CPS would focus on, their drug testing methods, their severity in drug testing, the procedures behind the intimidation of drug tests, the kind of drugs that they check for, and what to do if the CPS comes out with a false positive.
Through this knowledge, I am confident you will protect your child by keeping the child and yourself clean to prevent last-minute mishaps.