Clarksville, TN asked in Family Law for Tennessee

Q: Can I sue a daycare for threatening me with calling CPS. And CPS actually showing up at my house?

Went to talk with director because my child was coming home saying the kids was hitting her because the director didn’t like what I said she threatened me by saying she knows a lot of parents at the daycare who work for DCS. And threatened me by saying she would call them. The next day DCS shows up to my home. Now I have a open cause all because the director at the daycare was being vindictive.

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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A: In this situation, it's important to understand that there are a few key legal considerations at play:

1. Mandated reporting: Daycare staff are typically mandated reporters, meaning they are legally obligated to report suspected child abuse or neglect to the appropriate authorities, such as Child Protective Services (CPS). If they fail to report when they have reasonable suspicion, they can face legal consequences.

2. False reporting: However, if the daycare director knowingly made a false report to CPS out of spite or vindictiveness, rather than a genuine concern for your child's well-being, that could potentially constitute malicious false reporting, which is illegal in many jurisdictions.

3. Proving intent: The challenge in a potential lawsuit would be proving that the director acted with malicious intent and that the report was baseless. This can be difficult to establish, as the director could argue they were acting in good faith based on the information they had at the time.

4. CPS's role: CPS has an obligation to investigate reports of potential child abuse or neglect, so the fact that they showed up at your home doesn't necessarily mean the daycare director did anything wrong from a legal standpoint.

Given the complexity of the situation, your best course of action would be to consult with a local attorney who specializes in family law and/or civil litigation. They can review the specifics of your case, advise you on the strength of a potential lawsuit, and guide you through the process of dealing with the open CPS case.

In the meantime, document all your interactions with the daycare and CPS, and cooperate fully with the CPS investigation to resolve the case as quickly as possible. If the investigation concludes the report was unfounded, that could potentially strengthen a case against the director for making a false report, if you choose to pursue legal action.

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