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Becoming a Child Protective Specialist

Working as a Child Protective Specialist is a great opportunity if you are a recent college graduate or a seasoned professional. Extensive training, coaching and professional development is available. A career path incudes advancement to supervisory and managerial positions. We offer a robust benefit package and support continuing education through a number of scholarship opportunities.

What It Means to Be a Child Protective Specialist

Child Protective Specialists (CPS) respond directly to reports of child abuse and/or neglect. Using investigatory and social work skills, they engage and partner with families and community resources to ensure the safety and well-being of children throughout New York City.

As a CPS you will:

  • Complete field visits to investigate allegations of abuse and/or neglect.
  • Engage in a strength based approach with families in order to assess their individual and collective strengths and needs.
  • Interview family members and others who interact with the family to assess child safety and well-being.
  • Assess the risk of future abuse or neglect of children in the family.
  • Coordinate a team of family members, staff and service providers to evaluate safety and identify interventions that can reduce risks to children.
  • Remove child(ren) into protective custody or foster care, when children are found to be in imminent danger.
  • Enter and maintain accurate and timely computerized records of all case information.
  • Help families navigate government agencies and access entitlement benefits.
  • File petitions and testify in family court and other legal proceedings as necessary.

Required Qualifications

  • A baccalaureate degree from an accredited college, in specified discipline.
  • Twenty-four semester credits in any combination of the following fields: social work, psychology, sociology, human services, criminal justice, education (including early childhood), nursing or cultural anthropology.
  • At least 12 credits must be in one of these disciplines.
  • Candidates must demonstrate English language proficiency and basic typing skill.
  • All candidates must successfully complete a comprehensive drug screening.

Candidates who speak and/or write in the following languages are encouraged to apply: Spanish, Russian, Albanian, Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, French, Haitian Creole, Korean, Polish, Urdu, and African languages. New York City residency is NOT required.

Frequently Asked Questions About Being a CPS

What kind of training will I receive?


What is a typical day like?


Can I do some of my paperwork at home or on a laptop?


What about emergencies?


Will I visit my families alone or with someone else?


What types of support are in place when I have questions or simply need to vent?


How long will I maintain a relationship with a family? Can I stay in touch after the case has been closed?


What are the opportunities for further advancement?



The starting salary for a Child Protective Specialist Level I is $49,279. After successful completion of 6 months of service, you are automatically promoted to Child Protective Specialist Level II, with a base salary increase of $53,519. Upon successful completion of 18 months in this position, the base salary increases to $57,070 with a salary range up to $80,916. In addition to the base salary increases, there are longevity differentials, and the potential for overtime earnings and a night differential for certain assignments.


Permanent civil service appointment is required to become a Child Protective Specialist. Civil service exams are given a few times a year by the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS). When the filing period is open, you can file here; the application fee is $68. For more information, read this.

Becoming a CPS

Watch a video about being a CPS

I am a Child Protective Specialist (Part 1)


I am a Child Protective Specialist (Part 2)