Honolulu Child Welfare Attorney

Honolulu CPS & CWS Lawyer – Dedicated to Preserving Family Units in Hawaii

We all want what is best for our children, but every parent has a different idea of what that looks like. To enforce a standard, the Hawaii Department of Human Services provides a Social Services Division (SSD) to protect the welfare of children.

In Honolulu, Child Protective Services cases continue to be heard in-person. The Law Office of Steve Cedillos is here to represent you! Contact us online or call (808) 201-0496 today to discuss your options.

What is Hawaii's Child Welfare Services or CWS?

Unlike other states, Hawaii does not have a Child Protective Services (CPS) unit. Instead, their Child Welfare Services Branch (CWSB) strives to maintain the following:

  • Child safety
  • Child well-being
  • Long-term stable homes and relationships

Contrary to popular belief, the CWSB does not want to take children away from their families. Sometimes, however, the branch decides removal is a necessary in order to protect the child.

If you do not agree with this decision, hiring an attorney may be helpful.

Child Abuse and Neglect

As one of its primary duties, the CWSB investigates reports of child abuse or neglect. According to Hawaii Revised Statues (HRS) Chapter 587A, child abuse and neglect are defined as harm, risk for harm, or threatened harm to a child.

The CWSB determines harm of a child by looking for indicators such as:

  • Substantial bruising or bleeding
  • Burns
  • Fractures
  • Malnutrition
  • Gross degradation
  • Extreme pain or mental distress

If anyone suspects that your child is suffering from or threatened by harm, they have a right to report you to Child Welfare Services (CWS).

Certain individuals, such as health professionals, school employees, law enforcement officers, or childcare workers, are required to report their suspicions.

Under HRS Chapter 350-1.4(b), this report will remain confidential.

The Assessment

Upon receiving a report of child abuse or neglect, CWS is required by law to asses the report. CWS social workers will talk to you, your child, other family members, and even community members. Once the report is filed, CWS must determine whether the report is confirmed, unconfirmed, or unsubstantiated within 50 days. All reports are also shared with law enforcement, so the police department may choose to conduct its own investigation.

Removal from the Home

If the CWSB and/or the police department determine that your child is unsafe in their family home, a law enforcement officer will remove the child and give CWS temporary custody. CWS does not have the legal authority to remove your child from your home – this process must be completed by an officer.

Once your child is removed, CWS case workers have 3 days to assess the safety of your home. If the home is deemed safe, your child will be returned on the 3rd day.

If your home is not determined to be safe, your child will be placed in foster custody with a Voluntary Foster Custody Agreement or a petition in Family Court. While your child is in foster care, you will develop a case plan with the CWS to help create a safe environment for your child.

Your parental rights will only be terminated if you fail to adhere to the case plan and the Family Court determines you are unable to provide a safe home for your child within a reasonable amount of time (no more than 2 years from the report).

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    "Highly recommend him"
    Steve is sharp and understands exactly what you want to do after 1 discussion. He has a very cool personality but, most importantly gets the job done. Highly recommend him.
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    "I highly recommend Steve"
    Steve Cedillos Esq was experienced, professional, helpful, and knew what to expect in the courtroom, so I was able to stay calm and prepare after the free consultation. I highly recommend Steve for your traffic offenses.
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    "Would I hire him again? Absolutely."
    I hired Steve for a child custody case in 2021. I see all the reviews that say he is "mean" or "rude" - I would say that he is just blunt and straightforward. He isn't going to get your hopes up just to preserve your feelings. Great guy. he is willing to answer your questions before you even hire him and you can bet that he's honest. Do I think that a 5k retainer was a lot for my case? Yes, but it IS Hawaii and I did hire him 2 months before my actual trial date after going pro-se for a while. Would I hire him again? Absolutely.
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Why Choose Us?

Steve Cedillos, a respected Honolulu attorney with over 30 years of experience, specializes in criminal defense and family law. Committed to his clients' success, Mr. Cedillos provides tireless advocacy and comprehensive representation, from DUI cases to complex divorces. With a client-centered approach and expertise in military defense, he ensures his clients receive top-notch legal support. As a member of the Hawaii State Bar and the Screen Actor's Guild, Steve Cedillos offers a unique perspective and a dedication to achieving the best outcomes for his clients.

  • Tireless Representation
    Mr. Cedillos works tirelessly on behalf of his clients, understanding the importance of achieving the best possible outcome in their legal matters.
  • Compassionate Advocacy
    Whether negotiating an uncontested divorce or representing clients in court, Steve Cedillos advocates vigorously for his clients' interests to ensure they receive the outcome they deserve.
  • Specialized Military Defense
    Attorney Cedillos specializes in military criminal defense, assisting clients with various proceedings from non-judicial punishment hearings to general courts-martial.
  • Client-Centered Approach
    Mr. Cedillos takes a sincere interest in the success of his clients, prioritizing their needs and goals throughout the legal process.
  • Comprehensive Legal Expertise
    With over 30 years of experience, Steve Cedillos offers expertise in both criminal defense and family law, handling a wide range of cases from DUIs to complex divorce proceedings.