Wisconsin Department of Children and Families

Protecting Children, Strengthening Families, Building Communities

 

 

Child Protective Services Appeal Process

Child Protective Services (CPS) agencies investigate reports of child abuse or neglect. If they decide child abuse or neglect happened, they will “substantiate.” The agency may say who caused the abuse or neglect. CPS calls the person who abused or neglected the child(ren) the “maltreater.” Wisconsin State law provides definitions of child abuse and neglect. If CPS “substantiates,” or in other words, decides that you did abuse or neglect a child:

You will get a letter with this decision. The letter explains how to try to change this decision.

If you would like to appeal the decision

  1. Tell the CPS agency you want to try to change the decision within 15 days of getting the letter.
  2. CPS will set up a meeting with you and send you a letter with the time of the meeting.
  3. At the meeting, you can say why the decision should change. You can hire a lawyer.
  4. You will get another letter that will tell you the appeal decision and how to change the decision.

If you disagree with the upheld decision and would like to try to change the decision

  1. You send an appeal form to the Division of Hearing and Appeals (DHA) within 10 days.
  2. DHA will set up a meeting within 90 days and you will get a letter with the time of the meeting.
  3. At the meeting, you can say why the decision should change. You can hire a lawyer.
  4. You will get a letter in 60 days with the DHA decision
  5. If the decision is upheld you may still submit an application for rehabilitation review. A rehabilitation review allows a person with substantiated maltreatment to provide proof of counseling or improvement classes.

 

Additional helpful information can be found in the following pamphlets:

An Overview of the CPS Process is a visual representation of the process.