A New House Bill Could Reform Michigan Child Welfare Laws

Two little sisters dressed in identical dresses holding hands and running through a field together.
Under the proposed law, ALL children in a home need to be assessed for safety when a potential abuse situation is reported concerning one child in that home.

House Bill 4706, which was introduced by House Rep Matt Hall, would make small but significant changes to how child abuse allegations are handled right after the first report is made to CPS here in Michigan. Current law says that any form of child abuse and neglect, or suspected child abuse and neglect, (including exposure to drugs or methamphetamines) must be reported to the police. The law also says that within 24 hours of the initial report being made, the cops have to reach out to CPS and file a report. But that’s where it gets a little fuzzy…

What happens after CPS is notified of a possible abuse situation?

Michigan law requires that CPS follow up on every allegation made about a possible abuse or neglect situation within 24 hours of getting the report. For example, a teacher suspects a child in her class is being sexually assaulted at home, or a parent overhears their child talking to a school friend about the fact that their parent beats them. Once those reports are made, CPS is required to open an investigation into that child’s safety and wellbeing. But what the law DOESN’T make clear, is what the agency is supposed to do with any other children living in the same house. But HB 4706 wants to clear that up.

Under the proposed law, ALL children in the home must be assessed

If HB 4706 passes, it will change how CPS workers are supposed to handle other children living in the same home as the child who is being assessed by CPS. Specifically, within 24 hours of authorities receiving a report of suspected child abuse or neglect, contact would have to be made with the family so that the wellbeing of every single child living in that home could be assessed. Once there, a CPS worker would have to determine if all the children in the home are to be categorized as “safe, safe with services, or unsafe.” Their decisions about how to move forward with that family would need to take into account all of the children in the home.

The less access CPS has to your family, the better!

Join us next time for a look at other changes HB 4706 would make to Michigan’s CPS policies. But until then, you need to remember that battling CPS is often a long, frightening and confusing process. Going up against the state can be extremely intimidating, as it’s a formidable foe with many resources, and an army of people working against you. If CPS has made contact with you about your kids’ safety or your parenting practices, you need to call us immediately at 866 766 5245, and speak with one of our aggressive and experienced CPS defense attorneys. We can help you understand your case, and find the best way to protect your parental and constitutional rights.