The Gates Case: What It Means for Child Protective Services

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Jane Burstain /(512) 320-0222 x119

June 26, 2009

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In July 2008, the United States Court of Appeal for the Fifth Circuit published a decision in the case of Gates v. the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS). The Fifth Circuit set guidelines under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution for state caseworkers to follow in making investigation and removal decisions in child protection cases. This policy page discusses what Gates means for caseworkers in the field, explores its impact on Child Protective Services (CPS), and makes recommendations about what the state and CPS need to do next.