The number one concern of parents/guardians who find out they are the subject of a child protective services (CPS) abuse and/or maltreatment (neglect) investigation is whether CPS can remove their children from their home. To summarize, as I wrote in my previous blog, your child can be taken without a court order by CPS when they have reasonable cause to believe that letting the child remain with you would pose an imminent threat to the child’s health or life and there is not enough time to obtain a court order. (See NY Fam. Ct. Act §1024; Soc. Serv. Law § 417).
However, what many people don’t realize is that hospitals and other similar institutions can hold your child under certain circumstances. New York Soc.Serv. Law § 417(2) authorizes hospitals and other institutions to hold your child for twenty-four hours if “the facts so warrant.” The “imminent danger” necessary for CPS to remove your child is not necessary for a hospital to hold your child for twenty-four hours.

The authority for a hospital to hold a child for twenty-four hours is much broader than the authority granted CPS to remove a child from his or her parents/guardian since “imminent danger” need not exist. This “twenty-four-hour hold” period gives hospitals time to contact CPS and hold the child until a CPS investigator can arrive. It prevents a parent/guardian from simply leaving with the child where it is apparent to that parent that hospital medical staff has concerns about abuse and/or maltreatment (neglect). A hospital might hold a child when the child is brought in with suspicious injuries indicative of abuse or excessive corporal punishment.

And while this authority granted to hospitals and other similar institutions is referred to a as a “twenty-four hour hold”, in reality, the child can be held until the next regular weekday session of the appropriate Family Court. Therefore, if a hospital decides to hold a child on a Friday night, the hospital is authorized to hold that child through Monday morning.

If you are the subject of a Child Protective Services or Administration for Children’s Services investigation involving allegations of child abuse and/or maltreatment (neglect), contact Tilem & Campbell toll free at 1-877-377-8666 or visit us on the web at

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