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Advocate Tip: Re-reading the Case File

At the start of every new case, advocates are required to review the CPS case file within 15 days. While the initial reading is very important, the information contained in the case file at the beginning of a case can be very limited. Information obtained as the case progresses can provide advocates with some of the insight they may need in order to make recommendations regarding the children’s best interests. Therefore, additional readings of the case file can be just as important as the case progresses.

What to look for

As the CPS case progresses, additional information is gathered by the caseworker and added to the case file. Parents are generally required to provide the caseworker with verification of services they have completed. This can include certificates for services they have completed, verification of their employment, or proof of their housing. Caregivers are responsible for providing the caseworker with incident reports and updated educational information regarding the children. Caseworkers will also obtain information about the children’s medical care and therapy notes from the children’s therapist. Any written reports from the parents’ service providers (including therapy notes, psychological evaluations, and drug test results) should also be added to the case file as the case progresses.      

Things to Consider

There are some things to consider when re-reading the case file. As with the initial reading, advocates should contact the caseworker to set up a time to review the file. This provides the caseworker with some notice so that they can print out any documentation that may be missing. When reviewing the file, if there is any information that seems to be missing, advocates should ask the caseworker where a copy of the item might be for them to review. It is also important to consider whether or not it is necessary for the advocate to re-read the file at all. If an advocate feels confident in the information they are able to obtain, additional readings of the case file may not be necessary. An additional reading of the case file prior to the trial can provide advocates with the opportunity to make sure they have all of the case information fresh in their minds. Re-reading the case file can be beneficial for advocates who want to make sure they have all of the current information about the children and parents prior to making a recommendation for permanency.

  1. List five pieces of information that might be added to the case file as the case progresses
  2. What should an advocate do if information is missing from the case file?
  3. Explain why it would be beneficial for an advocate to re-read the case file.

To receive 1 hour worth of training credit, read the above article and submit answers to the accompanying training questions to Anna Munoz at

Advocate Tip: Re-reading the Case File