Child Protective Services (CPS) Investigators investigate claims of child abuse and neglect. They have the difficult task of figuring out what happened and predicting what will happen in the future. CPS receives and investigates reports of abuse and neglect 24 hours per day, every day of the year.

A  CPS investigation includes interviewing and gathering information to see if abuse or neglect happened and if intervention is necessary. The investigator considers both risk and safety issues, and may recommend services for the child and family to reduce the risk of further abuse or neglect. 

The purpose of a CPS investigation is to:

  • See if a child can safely live with their family.
  • Find out if abuse or neglect happened.
  • Learn whether other children in the family are victims of abuse or neglect.
  • Determine if there is a risk of abuse or neglect in the future.
  • Develop a plan, if needed, to keep the child or children safe.

What kinds of things will I be doing?

  • Responding quickly in crisis situations that involve children in an abusive or neglectful situation. Sometimes these situations can be dangerous.
  • Investigating reports of child abuse or neglect, and taking the necessary steps to protect children. This could include removing a child from their family.
  • Checking children for signs of abuse or neglect. This may involve serious injuries.
  • Conducting forensic investigations and assessments to determine risk of harm to children.
  • Interviewing people, such as the person who reports it, family members, doctors, nurses, and others familiar with the family situation.Talking frankly and objectively with families about personal and private matters, such as income,  sex abuse, and personal relationships.
  • Maintaining a balance of objectivity and empathy for families in stressful and crisis situations.
  • Documenting all relevant information and completing all required forms.  
  • Testifying in court.
  • Respecting cultural diversity among coworkers and all work-related contacts.
  • Prioritizing deadlines and working flexible hours.  

Do I need a college degree?

No. Entry level Child Protective Services Specialist I can have:

    A  Bachelor's degree OR an Associate's degree plus two (2) years of relevant work experience.


  • 60 college credit hours plus two (2) years relevant work experience OR 90 college credit hours plus one (1) year of relevant work experience.

Examples of relevant work experience in social, human, or protective services include paid or volunteer work within social service agencies or communities providing services to families or other at-risk populations.

What would my salary be?

The starting salary range is $3816.65 to $4094.50 per month and is based on your experience and qualifications.

In addition to salary, CPS investigators are paid a $416 monthly stipend. You will start getting this extra pay the first of the month after 120 days on the job. You must remain in CPS investigations to keep getting this pay.

Will I get trained on what to do?

Yes!  You will have lots of great training before beginning your job. And while you will visit clients on your own, you will have ongoing support from your co-workers and supervisor any time you need it. 

Are there opportunities for career advancement?

Yes! You will get ongoing training to prepare you to advance. There are various levels of certification.

Conditions of Employment

You must have and maintain a valid Texas driver's license.  CPS will also do a criminal background check and CPS history check on all applicants.

Want to learn more about what it's like to work for CPS?

Please take a self-assessment to see if a job in CPS is right for you.

See "CPS Experience" video here.