Understanding Your Rights: Can You Call CPS for Parental Alienation?

Understanding Your Rights: Can You Call CPS for Parental Alienation?


Parental alienation is a serious issue that can have long-lasting effects on both children and parents involved in a custody dispute. It occurs when one parent manipulates or influences a child to reject the other parent, often resulting in the child’s emotional distress and strained relationships. In some cases, the behavior of the alienating parent may be severe enough to warrant intervention from Child Protective Services (CPS). This article aims to explore the topic of parental alienation and whether calling CPS is a viable option to protect the child’s best interests.

Understanding Parental Alienation

Parental alienation is a form of emotional abuse that can occur during or after a divorce or separation. It involves one parent engaging in behaviors that undermine the child’s relationship with the other parent. These behaviors may include making derogatory remarks about the other parent, limiting contact or visitation, or even falsely accusing the other parent of abuse.

Signs of Parental Alienation

Recognizing the signs of parental alienation is crucial in identifying whether intervention from CPS may be necessary. Some common signs include:

  1. Consistent negative comments about the other parent in the presence of the child
  2. Interfering with the child’s visitation or communication with the other parent
  3. Encouraging the child to reject or fear the other parent
  4. False allegations of abuse or neglect against the other parent
  5. Undermining the other parent’s authority or decisions

Can You Call CPS for Parental Alienation?

While parental alienation is a serious issue, calling CPS solely for parental alienation may not always lead to the desired outcome. CPS agencies are primarily focused on investigating cases of child abuse or neglect, and parental alienation may not fall directly within their jurisdiction. However, this does not mean that parental alienation should be ignored or dismissed.

When to Involve CPS

In cases where parental alienation is accompanied by other forms of abuse or neglect, involving CPS may be necessary. For example, if the alienating parent is physically or emotionally abusing the child, or if the child’s basic needs are being neglected, CPS intervention may be warranted. It is important to document any evidence of abuse or neglect and consult with a legal professional to determine the best course of action.

Legal Options

If calling CPS is not a viable option, there are other legal avenues that can be pursued to address parental alienation. These may include:

  • Filing a motion with the court to modify custody or visitation arrangements
  • Seeking the assistance of a family therapist or counselor to address the alienation
  • Requesting a parenting coordinator or guardian ad litem to assess the situation and make recommendations to the court
  • Participating in co-parenting classes or workshops to improve communication and reduce conflict


Parental alienation is a complex issue that requires careful consideration and action. While calling CPS for parental alienation alone may not always be effective, it is important to address the issue and protect the child’s best interests. Recognizing the signs of parental alienation, documenting evidence, and seeking legal advice are crucial steps in navigating this challenging situation. By taking appropriate action, parents can work towards resolving parental alienation and promoting healthy relationships between children and both parents.