DEPENDENCY & NEGLECT CASES
If the State of Colorado Department of Human Services receives a report of child abuse, they will initiate an investigation through child protective services. This is certainly a necessary function of our government, and this department saves many children from abuse and neglect. However, CPS investigators are not lawyers, and they often make decisions and take actions that are unwarranted and that cause families severe harm. CPS investigators, and “law enforcement agents” do not know the law well and when they are confronted with problem, they most often default to the position of interfering with the parent-child relationship. In other words, they remove your child and file a Dependency and Neglect (D&N) case against you. Frequently, this will happen if a parent even questions the CPS worker’s authority in any way.
In a D&N case, the State must show that there is some condition present that is likely to or has caused physical or emotional harm to your child.
The Statute is as Follows:
C.R.S. 19-3-102: Neglected or Dependent Child:
(1) A child is neglected or dependent if:
(a) A parent, guardian, or legal custodian has abandoned the child or has subjected him or her to mistreatment or abuse or a parent, guardian, or legal custodian has suffered or allowed another to mistreat or abuse the child without taking lawful means to stop such mistreatment or abuse and prevent it from recurring;
(b) The child lacks proper parental care through the actions or omissions of the parent, guardian, or legal custodian;
(c) The child’s environment is injurious to his or her welfare;
(d) A parent, guardian, or legal custodian fails or refuses to provide the child with proper or necessary subsistence, education, medical care, or any other care necessary for his or her health, guidance, or well-being;
(e) The child is homeless, without proper care, or not domiciled with his or her parent, guardian, or legal custodian through no fault of such parent, guardian, or legal custodian;
(f) The child has run away from home or is otherwise beyond the control of his or her parent, guardian, or legal custodian;
(g) The child tests positive at birth for either a schedule I controlled substance, as defined in section 18-18-203, C.R.S., or a schedule II controlled substance, as defined in section 18-18-204, C.R.S., unless the child tests positive for a schedule II controlled substance as a result of the mother’s lawful intake of such substance as prescribed.
(2) A child is neglected or dependent if:
(a) A parent, guardian, or legal custodian has subjected another child or children to an identifiable pattern of habitual abuse; and
(b) Such parent, guardian, or legal custodian has been the respondent in another proceeding under this article in which a court has adjudicated another child to be neglected or dependent based upon allegations of sexual or physical abuse, or a court of competent jurisdiction has determined that such parent’s, guardian’s, or legal custodian’s abuse or neglect has caused the death of another child; and
(c) The pattern of habitual abuse described in paragraph (a) of this subsection (2) and the type of abuse described in the allegations specified in paragraph (b) of this subsection (2) pose a current threat to the child.
“If you are accused of abusing your child, the County Attorney will try to make you sign an admission and will promise you that there will be no bad consequences. This is almost always not true. The vast majority of parents who sign admissions of guilt are not guilty of anything, and should not sign anything. It is the heavy burden of the State of Colorado to prove that you have abused or neglected your child, and you have a right to a trial by a jury of your peers. The state must prove abuse or neglect by “clear and convincing evidence,” the second highest burden of proof in the legal system.”