Good Question: Does Child Protective Services intervene when teens are accused of crimes?

[anvplayer video=”5177234″ station=”998131″]

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Almost every week, we hear about crimes involving teenagers. Last week, two children ages 13 and 14 were arrested for robbery and grand larceny after Rochester Police said the teens hit a victim and tried to steal property.

The teens were taken to the Monroe County Children’s Detention Center. One of you asked at what point does Child Protective Services intervene?

On Monday, three teenagers ages 15, 16, and 18 were charged with attempted grand larceny and criminal mischief. Last week, three other teens ages 15, 15, and 16 were arrested in connection to a stolen car chase one of them already on probation.

Ronald writes: “When teens commit crimes such as stolen cars and ‘smash and grab’ robberies does Child Protective Services become involved to investigate the youths’ living arrangements, conditions and environment?”

The short answer is no. According to Monroe County’s Website, CPS “receives and investigates reports of suspected abuse and neglect of children; protects children who have been abused or neglected; and provides support and rehabilitative services to families where children have been abused or neglected.”

CPS does not automatically get involved when teens commit crimes unless there are additional causes for concern.

Monroe County says if a teenager steals a car and attempts a smash-and-grab, for example, that’s not by itself considered “reasonable cause to suspect neglect, maltreatment, or abuse.”

Police would need to have additional evidence of something like physical, emotional, or sexual abuse or a lack of access to adequate food, clothing, shelter, supervision, or health care.

A CPS investigation could also be triggered if someone formally reports a case to the department

If you see a case that you think should be reported to CPS, the county says: “the average person may feel an obligation to report the abuse or neglect and should do so within the definition of reasonable suspicion but a mandated reporter is required by law to call the state central registry (child abuse hotline) to review concerns in attempts to register a cps report”

If you want to report a case, call the new york state child abuse hotline at 1-800-342-3720.

If you have a good question, send it to us at