Can CPS Take Your Kid for Living in an RV?


Living in an RV can be a great way to save money before settling down into a permanent residence, or a temporary thing after a divorce. But if you’re a parent, you may be wondering can CPS take your kid for living in an RV.

I did some research, and here’s what I found out:

CPS cannot take your child for living in an RV, as there are no laws preventing that. However, you need to make plans for education, healthcare, and other basic needs. And if you are co-parenting with an ex, make sure the living arrangements are in accordance with the custody agreement.

But that’s not all there is to know about living in an RV with kids.

After all, aside from expenses, there are considerations such as Wi-Fi, childcare, and making sure your living arrangements won’t have an ex taking you to court.

Just keep reading and we’ll cover all the bases.

Is it legal to live in an RV with a child?

Yes. It is legal to live in an RV with a child. There is no law that states you cannot live with kids in an RV. But you need to follow laws that specify how you should provide for your children’s education and health care.

Most states require kids to be in school at least until they are 16. But a brick and mortar school isn’t the only way to educate your kids.

The easiest way to educate your kids is to enroll them in public school. But schools usually want you to live within the district. That’s not so easy when you are traveling on the road.

Schools are also going to have strict attendance requirements, which means that they’ll have to be physically in school a certain number of days.

There are options for school besides a brick and mortar school, though. You can do online schooling or even homeschooling.

Luckily, you may even find it to be cheaper to live in an RV than renting or owning a home.

But there are a few factors that determine if that’s possible. Check them all out in this recent article on our site. Just click that link to read it right here.

Online schools are typically public schools that are done entirely online.

You still have lessons and homework that needs to be turned in and teachers that you’ll meet within a virtual setting. Just like a traditional public school, they are free to attend.

If you go that route, you have to have a consistently stable internet connection. That’s not always possible when living in an RV.

There’s also homeschooling

Known as “Option 3” in some states, it’s where the parents or guardians are solely responsible for educating their kids. This means you are also required to keep up with progress reports, grades, and testing.

You’ll also have to keep up with all of the educational material. It will have to be turned in to your home state’s Department of Education at the end of the school year.

Every state is going to have different requirements for homeschooling and online schooling. Check with your Department of Education to make sure you are in compliance with your state’s laws.

Kids also need to have annual well visits with their pediatrician.

It’s best to do it with the same pediatrician. This gives your kids a certain amount of stability, and it gives you some confidence in knowing that your pediatrician is familiar with your kid’s medical history.

This can be tricky, but it’s not that hard when living on the road. Just plan your travels around your child’s annual visit. And if your kid isn’t due for vaccines, you may even be able to do the well visits online!

Just check with your doctor to see if they offer well visits online.

Is an RV the same as a mobile home as far as living in it with a child?

Living in an RV is not the same as living in a mobile home. Manufactured homes have to meet several federal regulations that RVs do not have to meet and mobile homes are designed to be permanently parked and not moved frequently.

Mobile homes are also called manufactured homes. Technically, if your RV was built before 1976, it’s still called a “mobile home,” but anything built after 1976 is a manufactured home. 

For this article’s purposes, I’m going to assume that the RV you are considering living in was built after 1976.

Manufactured homes have to comply with federal regulations to design, construct, and install mobile homes. These regulations assure quality, durability, safety, and affordability. They also ensure that electrical wiring, plumbing, and HVAC systems in each home are held to the same standards.

Manufactured homes are homes

They have living rooms, full kitchens, bathrooms, and separate bedrooms, just like a house made from wood or brick. They are cheaper than a house but are still required to be safe to live in full-time.

They are engineered for wind safety, energy-efficient, and are secured to the ground by steel anchors.

RVs are vehicles that have a home or living quarters attached to them

They are not manufactured to be lived in on a full-time basis. There are several different classes of RVs.

Class A, which is a motorhome, includes commercial passenger and school buses that have been converted into RVs. Class A motorhomes are generally large and luxurious. They have wide berths, multiple rooms, and bathroom facilities.

Class B RVs are campervans with raised roofs. They often have small kitchens with refrigerators and gas grills. Some larger ones will have a water heater, heating and AC, toilets and a shower.

Class C vehicles are what many people think of when they think about motorhomes.

They have the alcove that fits over the truck cab. They typically have a wider berth for sleeping and entertainment. Many times they also have a small kitchen area and a bathroom area.

Of course, there are many other types of RVs as well.

There are truck campers, pop-up campers, and travel trailers. All of which you could theoretically live in full-time.

To learn more about the differences between RVs and mobile homes, just read this recent article. Click the link to read it on my site.

What can CPS take your child for?

CPS can remove your child if they have a court order or if they believe the child is in danger. Those dangers include physical violence, sexual abuse, drug abuse, abandonment or extreme neglect, environmental danger, inadequate care, and medical abuse. 

CPS wants to keep families together.

They want to keep children safe. They don’t want to remove a child unless the child is in imminent danger or some sort of emergency has made it impossible to leave the child at home.

There are many reasons CPS can take your child, but they all revolve around the health and safety of your child.

The main concerns for living in an RV would be environmental danger and inadequate care. Environmental dangers include things like firearms and illegal drugs being left out where the child can access them.

It could also include things like extreme filth, pest infestations, and lack of sanitary facilities. source

Inadequate care means that you cannot care for your child due to mental health reasons or simply not being physically present to take care of your child.

Simply put, children need a safe, caring environment to live in. As long as you provide adequate care, keeping your kids safe and educated, you shouldn’t have to worry about CPS taking your children.

Can my ex prevent me from living in an RV with my child?

No. As long as you are meeting educational, nutritional, and safety needs, it is unlikely that your ex will be able to prevent you from living in an RV with your child unless it was specified in the custody agreement.

Children need a certain amount of stability in their lives. If you are concerned, you should consult an attorney in your state.

State laws vary widely by state, and family courts want to be fair to both parents.

They also want what is best for the child. The important thing is that you provide a safe living environment and make sure your child is getting an education.

This won’t be so hard to do if you are living in one place. But if you are traveling across state lines or living an otherwise nomadic lifestyle, it could get a little tricky in the eyes of the court.

Parenting is hard, especially if you have a contentious relationship with your ex.

Try to remember that you cared enough for your ex to have a child with them. Communicate with your ex. Just as you want what’s best for your child, so do they. If living in an RV is something you want to do, reassure them that you are keeping their best interests in mind, too.

Another thing to consider, especially if you live in a cold area, is whether you can live in a motorhome during the winter months.

Just read this recent article to learn about living in a motorhome during the winter.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

What is considered an unfit environment for a child?

An unfit environment is one where a parent is not providing proper guidance, care, or support. It’s also one where there is abuse, neglect, drug abuse, or other extreme issues. 

If there is a genuine concern for any child’s safety and welfare, anyone can call CPS. CPS will then assess any claims. If necessary, they will take appropriate steps to have the situation rectified.

Typically, an unfit environment can include not just the physical environment but the emotional one as well.

If the physical environment is filthy or pest-infested, then it could be considered unfit. The home environment should be one that promotes the nurture and safety of the child.

Emotionally, the child needs love and affection. Parents should be involved in the educational and social needs of their children.

If basic needs aren’t being met – if the child isn’t being fed properly, educated, and loved, it could be considered an unfit environment.

Did I answer everything you wanted to know about whether CPS can take your kid for living in an RV?

Living in an RV can be a great way to see the country.

There are no laws against living in an RV, and there are many options out there as far as making sure your child gets appropriate education and sees a doctor on a regular basis.

Living in an RV is not grounds for CPS to remove a child from a home. The most important thing is for your child to be safe, educated, and get appropriate medical care.

Are you considering living in an RV with your child?


This article is not intended as legal or professional advice. It is based on our experience and research. If you need legal or professional advice you should seek out a qualified professional in your area.

Cassandra & Jeff Campbell

Cassandra and Jeff Campbell travel on and off with their 3 daughters in a Newmar Baystar Class A Motorhome. They write extensively on both RVs, campgrounds, parenting on the road tips, remote learning & schooling, and much more!

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