Do I Need a CPS Defense Lawyer?
Child Protective Services
Defense Attorney in Michigan
Children’s Protective Services, also known as CPS, is a part of the Department of Human Services. It is the governmental agency that investigates allegations of child abuse and child neglect in Michigan. CPS workers can be threatening and intimidating, and some people are tempted to give into CPS’s demands out of fear. Many people do not even know that there are a few attorneys that regularly defend families from allegations by CPS. When it comes to dealing with CPS, there are many reasons why a person should hire an attorney with extensive experience in CPS matters.
When dealing with CPS, things
often spiral out of control quickly
CPS caseworkers often threaten parents that they must allow them into the home or face dire consequences. Intimidation seems to be a standard method used by CPS in Michigan. Further threats include the “requirement” that family members participate in “services” such as substance abuse treatment or parenting classes, or else their children will be removed from the home. Not wanting the government to take away their children, people often agree to cooperate with “services” even when they are not warranted or needed. This can be a horrible mistake. Fast forward to the future when the parent has a lot going on in life and misses one of these services or sessions. Michigan CPS is likely to try and use that absence (or “non-cooperation”) against the parent, when the parent only wanted to prove he or she cared about their children. The end result can be termination of parental rights, which is usually a no-win situation for everybody involved. It is seldom a good idea to agree to anything requested by CPS workers unless you have first conferred with a very experienced CPS defense lawyer.
Having a CPS defense attorney early in the case can prevent issues from spiraling so far out of control so quickly. The attorney can work with CPS to protect the rights of the parents and the family. In addition, putting an attorney between CPS and the parents protects parents who are constantly being intimidated, threatened or harassed by CPS workers, because the parents can instruct the CPS worker to contact their attorneys.
The parent needs someone
on his or her side
Once a child abuse or neglect case heads into court, there are a number of parties that are against the parent. The first is the CPS worker, who will likely be testifying against the parent. CPS will be represented by an assistant prosecutor. Next, if the parent is being charged criminally, there will be a criminal prosecutor. The third is a Legal Guardian Ad-Litem (LGAL) or Guardian Ad-Litem (GAL) who is appointed to help determine what the best interests of the child would be. In many cases, LGALs and GALs simply agree with the recommendations of the CPS workers. Our experience is that these court-appointed GALs perceive their role to be that of an advocate for the same position taken by CPS. Some judges, juries, and other attorneys are not always sympathetic to a parent’s side of the story. The right attorney is critical when protecting families from wrongful allegations by CPS.
With so many parties actively working against the parent and the family, it is easy to see why a parent who goes into court without hiring a seasoned CPS attorney is putting themselves at risk. On the other hand, having an attorney who is passionate about defending parents is a tremendous benefit to the parent.
Fighting child abuse and neglect
allegations is very complicated
Child abuse and neglect defense is a job for a lawyer who has extensive experience with CPS. Why? Well, for one thing, there is the interplay between a CPS case against a parent, which is a civil case, and any potential criminal child abuse charges. For another thing, the terminology and procedure used in a CPS case is much different than it is in any other type of case. In fact, we recommend that parents who are being investigated by CPS only hire attorneys who are highly-skilled in these types of cases; not just any defense attorney will have the specialized knowledge that our CPS defense attorneys have. In a similar way, we do not recommend that parents defend themselves in a neglect or abuse case. It is an example of, “you do not know what it is you do not know.” Parents without specialized legal knowledge may not know their rights and responsibilities when it comes to fighting CPS. These are dangerous waters, best navigated by aggressive defense lawyers.
Your Child Protective Services
The attorneys at Kronzek & Cronkright, PLLC regularly defend parents and families who have been accused of child abuse or child neglect. We have been practicing law for over 80 combined years, and during that time, we have had many successes with family reunification for our clients. If you are being investigated by CPS, if there is an open CPS case against you, or if there is a criminal child abuse case against you, now is the time to contact a highly-experienced and skilled CPS defense attorney.
Contact us today about your CPS case: 1 866-766-5245.