We have created a Parents’ Bill of Rights describing the basic protection for all parents/caregivers who become involved in the child welfare system. Some of these rights are in Federal child welfare law and are therefore required in every state. Other rights may be upheld as standard practice in some but not all states. We are promoting all of these rights on moral grounds, to ensure positive outcomes for families involved in the child welfare system.

  1. Every parent has the right to culturally and linguistically appropriate education, housing, health and mental health, food and nutrition, financial, and parenting support needed to raise their children.
  2. Every parent has the right to get help when they ask for it, including immediate access to neighborhood and community support such as child care, health and mental health care, access to substance abuse programs, in-home services, that help them prevent removal of their children from their home.
  3. Every parent whose child is involved in the child welfare system has the right to receive support and help from a parent advocate (who has been involved in child protective services) to successfully navigate the system and advocate for their family.
  4. Every parent has the right to know why they are being investigated by the child protection system and the outcome of any investigation; to be provided with a clear and immediate explanation of every step of the child protection process, and their rights from the very beginning (including their right not to let the caseworker in when they knock on the door if they do not have a warrant), and to receive information on available assistance and help parents advocate for themselves and their family.
  5. Every parent has the right to an emergency hearing no later than 24 hours following their child’s removal from their home.
  6. Every parent has the right to fair treatment including due process protections (including the right to be present and bring witnesses to all proceedings, have an attorney, appeal agency decisions, and make complaints or raise concerns); equal treatment without regard to race, ethnicity, gender, disability, age, religion, economic status, family composition, or sexual orientation; access to immediate, affordable, high quality, competent, knowledgeable, and assertive legal representation, from the report through the investigation, court and “reunification” stages.
  7. Every parent who is being investigated by child protective services has the right to be considered “innocent until proven guilty,” not to be judged guilty by association, and not to be considered neglectful or abusive solely because they or their child has a disability or mental health need.
  8. Every parent has the right to speak for themselves and to be respectfully heard at every step of the child protective service processes.
  9. Every parent has the right to have fair and reasonable expectations with regard to the child welfare system; to have these expectations developed with, shared in writing with, and clearly explained to the parents in a manner they can understand, and receive the support needed to meet those expectations.
  10. Every parent whose child is involved in the child welfare system has the right to privacy (including keeping their records confidential unless they provide written parental consent), to access their own child and family records at any time at no cost, and to have their names expunged from any child protective services agency/central registry if there are no findings and/or after a reasonable amount of time after they have met all agency expectations.
  11. Every parent whose child is involved in the child welfare system has the right to convene a meeting within a reasonable amount of time (no later than a week) with the agency and interested parties.
  12. Every parent has the right to have their child/ren expeditiously placed with a family member or close family friend, identified in consultation with the parent, and have no “unreasonable” barriers placed in the way of having the child/ren placed with that family member or close family friend.
  13. Every parent whose child is involved in the child welfare system has the right to make decisions about their child’s education, health, mental health, religious education; be informed about the progress their child is making with regard to education, health and development, and about the people and/or services involved with their child; and accompany their child to school and medical visits, even while their child is in care.
  14. Every parent has the right to exercise their First Amendment rights, including the right to free exercise of religion, freedom of speech, and freedom of association, without being penalized by the child welfare system.
  15. Every parent has the right to see and communicate with their child every day while their child is in care, at times and locations that are convenient to the parent and at no cost to the parent.

© 2009, National Coalition for Parent Advocacy in Child Protective Services

This document is a work in progress. We invite comments from parents,
advocates and agencies as we shape this Bill of Rights that will one day be incorporated into state and federal laws to improve the CPS system.

When you become a member, you will be able to use your username and password to logon to this site and make comments. We are looking forward to your feedback and partnership to achieve the vision and mission we all believe in.



Please Make Note

Please make note that I, Jessica Lynn Hepner the creator of What Every Parent Should Know, is not giving legal advice. I am not a lawyer. I am giving you knowledge via first hand experiences.

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Save A Life by Angie Kassabie

Save A Life by Angie Kassabie
I URGE ALL MY FRIENDS TO READ & SHARE THIS; YOU COULD SAVE A LOVED ONES LIFE BY KNOWING THIS SIMPLE INFORMATION!!! Stroke has a new indicator! They say if you forward this to ten people, you stand a chance of saving one life. Will you send this along? Blood Clots/Stroke - They Now Have a Fourth Indicator, the Tongue: During a BBQ, a woman stumbled and took a little fall - she assured everyone that she was fine (they offered to call paramedics) ...she said she had just tripped over a brick because of her new shoes. They got her cleaned up and got her a new plate of food. While she appeared a bit shaken up, Jane went about enjoying herself the rest of the evening. Jane's husband called later telling everyone that his wife had been taken to the hospital - (at 6:00 PM Jane passed away.) She had suffered a stroke at the BBQ. Had they known how to identify the signs of a stroke, perhaps Jane would be with us today. Some don't die. They end up in a helpless, hopeless condition instead. It only takes a minute to read this. A neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim within 3 hours he can totally reverse the effects of a stroke...totally. He said the trick was getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed, and then getting the patient medically cared for within 3 hours, which is tough. >>RECOGNIZING A STROKE<< Thank God for the sense to remember the '3' steps, STR. Read and Learn! Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer severe brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke. Now doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions: S *Ask the individual to SMILE. T *Ask the person to TALK and SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE (Coherently) (i.e. Chicken Soup) R *Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS. If he or she has trouble with ANY ONE of these tasks, call emergency number immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher. New Sign of a Stroke -------- Stick out Your Tongue NOTE: Another 'sign' of a stroke is this: Ask the person to 'stick' out his tongue. If the tongue is 'crooked', if it goes to one side or the other that is also an indication of a stroke. A cardiologist says if everyone who gets this e-mail sends it to 10 people; you can bet that at least one life will be saved. I have done my part. Will you?

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