CPS RV living (what you need to know)

CPS RV living – these are the three words that many fear using in the same sentence. In this article, we are going to discuss living in an RV with your children, homeschooling and whether you should fear CPS or not. 

CPS RV living visit  – should I be concerned?

There are many reasons why a member from the CPS may decide to visit you. But to address the main concern here, we are going to be direct and tell you that CPS cannot take your child away for living in an RV. 

The most frequent causes why CPS can take a child away (RV living or not) are lack of hygiene, lack of parental capacity, lack of resources and living conditions, addictions (alcohol, drugs, gambling, …), neglect in caregiving functions, inadequate social environment, mistreatment etc.

As long as your child is safe and has good living conditions, you shouldn’t be worried. The other thing that you must take into consideration if living in an RV with children, is schooling. Are your children still going to the same school? Do they do online school or have you chosen to homeschool them? If it is the latest, here’s what you should know:

  • States requiring no notice to the school district about homeschooling include Alaska, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Texas.
  • States with low regulation include California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Arkansas, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Delaware.
  • States with moderate regulation (parental notification, plus test scores and/or professional student progress evaluations must be sent to the district) include Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Louisiana, Florida, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Maine, Maryland and Washington, D.C.
  • States with high regulation (all the above regulations, plus other requirements — e.g., curriculum approval by the state, teacher qualification of parents or home visits by state officials) include Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont.

Homeschooling is usually the first choice for many campers. As long as you follow the guidelines, there is nothing to fear,

Living with your children in an RV

Managing children in a small space, especially smaller children, is not always a long, quiet river. The happy images of children running in meadows, swimming in wild rivers, collecting flowers… are… true. BUT, there is everything else: the everyday. 

Dressing, eating, doing activities, sightseeing, going to bed … Living in a motorhome with your children means above all living with them 24 hours a day. Without a school, nursery or grandparents to have time to breathe.

Manage daily life on the road. Living in a motorhome, far from the idea of ​​absolute freedom, is to have a little daily routine. You have to put everything away and secure before leaving, cook, eat and wash the dishes in a small space, find a washing machine, do housework … You also have to fill it with clean water, empty the wastewater and, yuck, empty the chemical toilets.

On a daily basis, it’s also about finding where you’re going – what you want to visit, see, do. Let yourself be carried away by chance, yes, why not; but at the risk of turning in circles or entering a path not suitable for such a large vehicle. This freedom to be able to go wherever you want, paradoxically creates frustration: if you can go anywhere, where do you start? 

Why live in an RV or camper?

As with everything in life, there are a number of arguments in favor, and of course, others against it.

Obviously, in an RV you have to “manage” more than in a conventional home. For example, for the shower, either you have one inside the van, or you can go to public showers in swimming pools or sports centres.

For the subject of clothing, automatic laundries make the subject much easier. For electricity, nothing like a second battery and solar panels. And for the issue of water, carafes and water tanks, which are filled in public fountains. There is a solution for everything.

Living in a van or motorhome is being more exposed to the weather. When it rains you don’t get wet, that’s true, but you are more vulnerable to cold and heat. But for everything there are remedies.

When it’s cold, there are classic remedies like putting on a robe or a hot water bottle. Or you can also use more “current” remedies, and put a stationary heater. With a very small cost (compared to a traditional home), it can be very warm inside, even if it is the perfect storm outside. 

How to live legally in an RV

We have reached the most delicate subject. Well, it is clear that living in a van is possible. But can it legally be done? We are going to see the two main possibilities that exist.

Option 1: Try to register

The first option is to try to make your van, motorhome or RV your official address. That is, officially register in it. It is possible, but very difficult, and only for certain situations. 

First of all, you have to know that the legislation regarding these issues is largely transferred to the autonomies and municipalities, and although they all follow more or less the same main guidelines, the details may vary from one community to another.

To register and have your home vehicle as an official residence, the essential thing is that it has a certificate of occupancy. And it is practically impossible to get one for a van or motorhome type vehicle. That is, you can have your own land and have your caravan continuously parked on it. 

Well, if you do not have a certificate of occupancy, it will be very difficult for any city council to give you a registration form. And what’s more, if a neighbour is a bit of a jerk and exposes you, you may even be fined for residing in a place without the happy habitability certificate.

Another option is to “move” to a campsite and reside there with your RV. Well, even if you are paying for your plot, all communities establish a maximum time that you can spend a year in a campsite. And they range from 6 to 11 months a year. Although the number of months varies, the idea is clear: You cannot live continuously and register at a campsite either.

Option 2: Live like a nomad

The second option is to live in a “nomadic” way. That is, without looking at a specific place. If you don’t “settle” in one place, your chances of getting into trouble with the authorities are reduced.

Living nomadic means that you can move and live anywhere in the world without too many ties. The only limits are those that you impose on yourself, such as climate issues. You can live moving around your same province, country or even around the world.

This living around the world may sound a bit like “science fiction”, but really, with a good mobile data connection, you can do any kind of telework from any corner of the world. Or you can also start a business or professional activity and live as a digital nomad. 

The advantage of living with almost constant movement is that the authorities will treat you as just another traveller, and you will not have coexistence problems of any kind.

On the other hand, if your idea is to stay for long periods in the same area, you have two options: either move every three or four days from the place of the night or try to find a place where you do not attract attention or “turn out to be annoying” for no one. Being discreet you can surely stay in one place without too much trouble.

Living in an RV: doctor, finances, mail

In the event that you reside in a fixed place with your vehicle and you have managed to register, surely the issue of the doctor, notifications from the administration and receiving mail will have it solved. But what if you live nomadically?

Fortunately, nowadays we are less and less dependent on a physical address. For example, to collect packages for purchases made online, what you could do is establish a collection point in the area, be it an Amazon locker or a Post office. So for this, it is not necessary to have an address or a registry.

On the other hand, for the issue of bank letters, you can use 100% online banking so you never receive a letter from them either. And with the administration, it happens more of the same. By law, we all have the right to communicate electronically with the administration so there is no need to have an address to receive notifications.

The bottom line

Some people are drawn to the idea of ​​living in an RV full time, even if they have kids. The decision to pack and live in an RV should be made carefully. You will need to consider the financial changes that come with making such a lifestyle decision, but mostly, you will have to make a plan for your children.

As long as you put their needs first, you shouldn’t be worried about a CPS visit!

Please let us know if we can be of any further help.


Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!