One of the greatest complaints that has followed CPS through their history here in Michigan, is their lack of accountability. They seem to operate without oversight, and in many cases, without consequences. Which means that families are torn apart, children are placed in dangerous homes, or left in dangerous situations, and CPS workers are not answerable to anyone for the lives lost in the process.
Although there does seem to be a slow change in that department. There are currently efforts underway to build parent advocacy groups here in Michigan, which will help to combat some of the unchecked power that CPS seems to wield in their dealings with families. One of those efforts is being driven by the Families Civil Liberties Union.
The FCLU labels themselves as a professional, politically neutral, national activist organization whose sole goal is to protect families from an abusive family court system. Although the primary focus of the FCLU is pursuing fairness and equality in divorce, child custody and alimony issues, they also recognise the role that CPS plays in deciding many families’ futures nowadays.
According to a recent story published in the Lansing State Journal, legislation has been proposed that would make it a requirement for CPS to make video recordings of every child interview they conduct. Cary Flagg, a Mecosta County father who lost custody of his children due to false allegations of sexual abuse, provided testimony at a hearing on behalf of the FCLU, who are in favor of this proposed legislation.
Both the FCLU and the FDAM plan to fight for parent’s rights in Michigan
Flagg is in the process of launching the Michigan chapter of FCLU, which he hopes will help parents who are being railroaded by CPS and the family court. Thus far, the FCLU has had no victories when it comes to influencing legislation, but they haven’t given up hope. Flag’s testimony may still serve to drive lawmakers to insist on a little more CPS accountability in Michigan.
Another organization attempting to marshal its forces in the face of CPS’s growing power, is the Family Defense Attorneys of Michigan. FDAM is an association of lawyers who fight on behalf of parents battling CPS. As of now, the organization trains attorneys and files supportive briefs for CPS cases that make it all the way to the supreme court, but they have yet to engage in lobbying for changes to Michigan law. It is, however, something they’re talking about for the future.
Currently the system is unequally stacked, with little to no resources available for parents fighting for their rights, and grossly bloated funding and representation available to CPS and the state. However, with this slowly growing grassroots movement underway to ensure that parents aren’t left fighting a giant alone, that may change in the future. We can only hope that more people climb on board. Until then, however, we will continue to fight for parent’s rights, one family at a time.