If Child Protective Services have just entered your life, you need to be extremely careful from now on, and to be frank with you, wondering what type of drug test does CPS use, is not the main question you should be concerned with.
We will of course answer that question for you, but it’s essential that you understand your rights when CPS asks you to take a drug test. And the best thing you can do today is to call a family law attorney so that you have an expert in your corner.
The stakes could not be higher for your family because CPS has the ability to take your children from you if you fail a drug test.
Okay then, let’s answer the question about the type of drug test used by CPS, and then we’ll give you some details about your right to refuse a drug test, and what happens if you test positive.
Please be aware that the information in this article is only a general guide and is not legal advice.
What Type Of Drug Test Does CPS Use?
Child Protective Services are state agencies and each agency may operate a little differently depending on the state you live in. That said, when a CPS caseworker comes to your home and asks you to take a drug test, they will be armed with an oral fluid (saliva) or urine drug test.
A saliva drug test will show any drug use during the last 48 – 72 hours.
A urine test has varying detection windows for different drugs. As a general guide, these are the detection windows for commonly abused drugs:
- Methadone – up to 72 hours
- Propoxyphene – up to 72 hours
- Opiates – up to 4 days
- Cocaine – up to 4 days
- Ecstasy – up to 5 days
- Amphetamines and methamphetamine – up to 4 days
- Methaqualone – up to 4 days
- Oxycodone – up to 4 days
- Barbiturates – up to 7 days
- Benzodiazepines – up to 7 days
- Phencyclidine (PCP) – up to 14 days
- Marijuana – up to 90 days
While a saliva or urine screen is the test you’ll most likely be asked to take first, if you test positive, or if CPS gets a court order, you could be asked to take a hair follicle test, a blood test, a sweat test, or a breath test for alcohol.
A hair follicle drug test can reveal drug use for up to 3 months.
To be clear, without a court order, CPS will ask you to take a saliva or urine test.
Can Parents Refuse To Take A CPS Drug Test?
Child Protective Services are government agents, but they operate under civil law and they do not have the powers of law enforcement officers.
A CPS caseworker cannot enter your home without your permission, and they cannot force you to take a drug test. You don’t even have to talk to them, and you shouldn’t speak to them unless your attorney is present.
Under the 4th Amendment, you have a right to be free of warrantless searches. A drug test is a warrantless search (unless CPS already has a court order). Entering your home is a warrantless search.
Under the 5th Amendment, you have the right to remain silent – you’ve probably seen TV shows or movies where a suspect “invokes the 5th” – you can do the same.
Under the 6th Amendment, you have the right to an attorney.
Don’t give up those rights. All you need to say – politely – to the CPS investigator is “I’m invoking my 4th, 5th, and 6th Amendment rights and I’ll be happy to cooperate with you fully once I’ve spoken to my attorney”.
Taking a test that you know you could fail will give the state the ammunition they need to build a case against you for child endangerment or neglect. And sometimes drug tests give a false positive result, so even if you think you’re going to pass, you could still fail.
If you contact an attorney, they will tell you to refuse to take a test.
You’ve got nothing to gain by cooperating with CPS and everything to lose. They aren’t your friends, and they will not make anything easier for you because you’re nice to them. They just hope that you’re ignorant enough to make their job easy.
Sometimes a CPS worker will make threats about removing your children if you don’t cooperate. This is illegal coercion, so don’t be intimidated.
If your children are at home with you, have your children come to the window so that the caseworker can see that the kids are fine, otherwise, they could ask law enforcement to step in by claiming that they fear for the safety of the children.
Don’t be afraid to say no to the CPS worker that knocks on your door. Be polite but firm when you refuse to let them in or take a drug test. Contact a family law attorney immediately, and of course, record everything.
Unfortunately, the CPS worker just won’t go away and leave you alone, their next step will be to ask a judge to issue a court order requiring you to submit to a drug test. This is why you must contact a family law attorney as soon as CPS makes first contact with you.
The CPS caseworker will need to provide evidence to the court detailing why you should submit to drug testing. Unless you have an attorney representing you, a judge will usually grant the order.
What Happens If Parents Fail A CPS Drug Test?
The consequences of a failed drug test depending on what the CPS caseworker decides is in the best interests of your children.
If CPS feels that your children are in danger because of your drug use and lifestyle, they can remove the children from your care. You’ll be asked to sign a safety plan which places the children under the care of a suitable relative or friend.
If no suitable responsible adults can care for the children, they will be placed in foster care. CPS will also refer you to a substance abuse program.
If you refuse to sign the safety plan, CPS will seek a court order allowing them to remove your children.
Once your children are removed from your care, you’ll face a battle to get them back, and if they’re in the foster care system rather than with a trusted friend or relative, the situation will be extremely traumatic for everyone involved.
To get your children back, you’ll need to pass multiple drug tests (including random drug tests) and comply with all other conditions imposed on you.
A Positive Drug Test Result Could Cause You Even More Problems
Did you know that by possessing or using drugs in a home where a child is present, you could be committing a felony, even if your children are safe and well cared for?
In 19 states possessing or manufacturing methamphetamine in the presence of a child is a felony. Legally, possession is defined as owning or having control over something. “In the presence of a child”, means that a child is present or nearby and may see an illegal act.
The states are:
- New Hampshire
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
In 16 states the possession, or use, or manufacture of any drug in the presence of a child is a felony offense.
- New Mexico
- North Dakota
In 14 states, possessing, using, manufacturing, or distributing drugs in the presence of a child is considered child endangerment:
Exposing children to drugs or drug paraphernalia is a crime in the following states:
- New Hampshire
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
Now, it’s true that you can’t be charged with a crime just because you test positive for illegal drugs. But a CPS caseworker is trained to look for signs of drug use in the home, and if you let these people inside your home, they’ll be looking for evidence.
Then they will inform law enforcement that they suspect illegal drugs are being used in your home.
For the sake of your children, as soon as CPS contact you, stop all drug use – and that includes marijuana in a legal state – and remove all drugs and drug paraphernalia from your home. Don’t allow visitors to use drugs in your home and don’t admit visitors who may have drugs on them.
Go through your social media, set it to private, then remove any messages or photos that show or refer to drug use.
If you have a drug addiction problem, get treatment. You cannot continue to use drugs now that Child Protective Services has you on their radar. No recreation or “pleasure” is worth risking your children’s safety and security.
Don’t Allow CPS To Talk To Your Children
A CPS caseworker could visit your child’s school or daycare center and talk to your child in an attempt to get incriminating information about you.
You must take steps to make sure that this doesn’t happen because children are trusting souls and they won’t realize that mommy or daddy is in trouble.
Write a letter to the school or daycare informing them that you do not give anyone permission to talk to your children without your knowledge, permission, and presence. Sign the letter, then get it notarized and copied. Hand delivers the letter to an official at the school, or to the manager of the daycare center.
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When an agent from Child Protective Services becomes involved in your life, you must seek legal advice from a family law attorney right away. Dealing with the state in any capacity is always stressful, and when your children are at risk, you’ll be under a lot of pressure.
Having an attorney advising you ensures your rights are protected and gives you the best chance of keeping your children in the family home.
Unless CPS already has a court order, you do not have to allow them to enter your home and you do not have to agree to a drug test.
When CPS begins an investigation, they will ask you to submit to a saliva or urine test. A positive result can be followed up with a more extensive hair follicle drug test. This test can show drug use over a long period and establish that you’re a chronic drug user.
Testing positive on a CPS drug test will very likely result in the removal of your children, and CPS may also tip off law enforcement about your drug use which could lead to serious criminal charges.
Robert Eric (a lover of Cats and Dogs) is the co-founder of HireFelonsJobs. In our search for a better life, after… A platform was created for the purpose of easing the search for ex-convicts.