Posted: Jan 25, 2013 7:25 PM
Updated: Jan 28, 2013 12:23 PM
WESLACO - Child Protective Services officials said the agency does not charge to file reports. The statement comes after a viewer called CHANNEL 5 NEWS with a tip about a Craigslist ad offering to file reports to CPS for a cost of $20 to $100.
The listing claims the person offering the help is a former CPS investigator. The ad was posted in the McAllen/Edinburg area Craigslist. The listing asks those interested to contact the person by email.
CHANNEL 5 NEWS emailed the person asking if he was located in the Valley and what would be the price to report abuse to CPS.
A person called Chris responded saying he would charge a $40 base fee for information on how to file a report. The man said he had business cards stating his investigative role with the state and a certificate from CPS.
A CHANNEL 5 NEWS reporter called CPS to ask questions about the Craigslist ad.
CPS Spokesman John Lennan said he has never heard of anyone offering to help file a report of child abuse for a fee.
"There's absolutely no cost to make a call to CPS," Lennan said during a telephone interview.
CPS offers only two options for filing a report - over the phone or online, he said. Both services are free.
The process is guided by specially trained people with the agency, he said.
"They will ask you a series of questions to create that in-take report. If it meets criteria, it will be sent to the field for an investigation," Lennan said.
Chris, from the Craigslist ad, said he could listen to concerns to determine if it was a valid report of child abuse.
Lennan said every minute counts in cases of child abuse.
State law requires a person who suspects abuse or neglect to make a report with the state.
He said emergencies should be reported by calling 911 and then CPS.