Child Protective Services becomes involved only when there is a legitimate complaint that a child is a victim of abuse or neglect by the child's caretaker (parent, guardian, etc.).
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The most commonly recognized types of abuse and neglect are physical abuse, physical neglect, emotional abuse, emotional neglect, and sexual abuse or exploitation. Signs of abuse and neglect include:
Virginia state statutes do not set a specific age after which a child legally can stay alone. Age alone is not a very good indicator of a child's maturity level. Some very mature 10-year-olds may be ready for self-care while some 15-year-olds may not be ready due to emotional problems or behavioral difficulties. In determining whether a child is capable of being left alone and whether a parent is providing adequate supervision in such situations, child protective services (CPS) will assess several areas. These areas include:
It is also helpful to have a Safety Plan, including the parent's phone numbers, the arranged neighbor's name, address and phone numbers and other pertinent information written down and posted somewhere visible in the home.