Child Protective Matters – The Adjudicated Hearing

Brandon WaltripDivorce & Child Custody

This blog will be discussing the adjudicated hearing and entry of a possible Child Protective Order (“CPO”). The adjudicated hearing is the second hearing in a complaint by Child Protective Services against a parent/guardian for abuse or neglect.

At an adjudicated hearing, if the PPO was objected to, a full trial on the facts will take place. A Judge will then decide whether by a preponderance of the evidence if abuse/neglect has occurred. It is important at this stage that a party be prepared to meet the evidence presented by CPS.
At most hearings the Court will take the  testimony of the CPS investigator, and any pertinent witnesses. This may also include forensic evidence such as videos, photographs, or medical reports.
To properly meet this evidence a party should have experience in CPS investigative methods; especially the interview of a possible child victim. A party must also be prepared to dispute the forensic evidence.
It is also important for a party to have a court reporter present at the hearing. If a party intends to appeal the finding, an appeal to a local circuit court is permissible and the transcript from the hearing can be used to impeach any witnesses.
If a court determines the evidence is sufficient to enter the CPO there will then be a dispositional hearing. CPS will continue to monitor both the parents and children. For all intensive purposes the Adjudicated hearing is the most important stage of a CPS Protective Order. As a parent/guardian make sure you have an attorney who can handle the evidence and testimony presented by CPS.