Child Protective Services (CPS) is the state’s investigative agency in cases of child abuse or neglect cases. CPS is staffed with many dedicated professionals who perform a difficult and necessary role in the protection of children. However, CPS is understaffed, overworked, and prone to rushed judgments and this often results in a very high rate of error in their decision making. The people who pay for these mistakes are the children themselves and the parents and professionals who care for the children.
CPS actions are to be taken very seriously as they often result in removal of children from the home and criminal charges. Statements you may make to a caseworker or counselor can and will be used against you in any criminal proceeding and they are not required to read you your rights. Expressions of support for a spouse who is suspect of abuse or neglect will most often result in the removal of the children on a theory that the supportive spouse “will fail to protect” the children.
Fighting CPS means fighting an automatic negative bias against you. If you are contacted by CPS in Washington, don’t hesitate to get experienced legal counsel on your side. Having an experienced attorney by your side as you engage CPS caseworkers in an unforgiving system is critical. Spencer Law PLLC has experience handling these cases. From start to finish, I examine the circumstances of your case and work with you to secure the best outcome possible for you and your children.
You have no idea how much I appreciated the kindness, patience, and above all the love you showed me during the last five months. I could not have coped through this nightmare without you. Thank you! I also wanted to let you know how grateful I am to have had you in my corner during this ordeal. It means a lot to me to have had someone (so amazingly talented and competent) who I had complete trust in handling the most difficult event of my life. Once again my most sincere thank you! – Judith D., Vancouver, June 2017
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What can happen from a CPS report? In addition to criminal charges, the state has two principle courses of action in cases of suspected abuse or neglect on children. If it is believed that a parent has abused or neglected a child, the state can remove the children from a parent’s care under petition a court for an order of “dependency” – an order which means that there is no fit parent available to care for the child and the child becomes a “ward” of the state. Children can be placed with a relative or in the foster care system. If it is believed that a caregiver (day care provider, foster parent, camp counselor, etc.) or other professional responsible for a child (e.g., teacher) has committed abuse or neglect against a child, the state can commence administrative proceedings to suspend or terminate the professional license of the professional.
"Clayton has done a fantastic job finalizing my parenting plan! He talks fast (admittedly) because he has so much energy and passion for what he does and doesn’t want to waste your time. He’ very knowledgeable in family law and sets reasonable expectations whether it was what I wanted to hear or not. He looks out for his clients best interest and the child in my case.. what I was most impressed by was after about 8 months, he returned my voicemail right away to answer my questions and spent about 15 minutes of his time giving me advice with expecting nothing in return. He is top notch!" - Krista July 2, 2021
"Mr Spencer has been in practice for over 30 years. He knows the law better than any attorney I know, and I actually know several. He is honest, straightforward, and will work hard (even at crazy hours), to bring the best results possible. " - Jason Ackley May 25, 2021
"I came to Clayton seeking representation for my divorce. This is my first marriage and so going through a divorce was beyond anything I’ve ever experienced. I had no idea what to expect until I marched into the office of Clayton Spencer. First was a consultation where we met, and he informed me of the timeline/order of events, fees and such that I could expect. He was not pushy, he even wanted me to look into my options before committing to his help. My divorce wasn’t nasty, but it wasn’t simple either, and unless you have a crystal ball there is no way to know what you will need or problems that will arise. I am so happy that I had Clayton in my corner to help see me through this horrific time in my life, he navigated the uncharted waters for me and super pleased with knowledge, professionalism and understanding of my expectations. Thank you to both you and Jill for being so responsive and proactive, and diligent with my case!" - Pamela, July 21, 2020
"Mr. Spencer is a honest and thorough lawyer. I hired him to represent me in a child custody case. He took me through a variety of outcomes that may occur and asked me questions so we could create the most beneficial case. When me and the other party came to an agreement on our own time, Mr. Spencer and his secretary Jill helped complete the parenting plan and Jill filed the paperwork quickly. Jill was able to assist me and answer any questions I had. I will hire them again if I ever need legal help in the future. " - Heather July 18, 2020