Can Children Participate in CPS Court Hearings That Affect Their Future?

Siblings playing outside
Children have MANY wonderful qualities. Long term planning just isn’t one of them.

Ask any parent and they’ll tell you – given the choice between cake and ice-cream for dinner, or broccoli and chicken, most kids would choose the less healthy option! Why? Because kids usually go for what feels or sounds good right now, without taking into account how that choice could impact them in the future. Children aren’t usually able to think in the long term, and they’re generally not mature enough to make choices that take into account all of the factors affecting the outcome. Which is why they tend to have very little control over their own lives.

Children don’t get to make legal choices for themselves.

The court is aware of this fact, and so they don’t usually allow children the right to make choices that affect their futures. This is why children are rarely allowed to participate in court at proceedings that could affect their futures. Which can seem heart-hearted, as they do have opinions and should be listened to. But should a child’s opinion sway a court hearing, or dictate terms in a CPS hearing? After all, the decisions made at these hearings can affect them for the rest of their lives!

CPS hearings typically don’t include children!

The standard practice in Michigan, is that children are not involved in the proceedings of a Neglect or Abuse case, unless their testimony is needed by another party’s attorney (like the Prosecutor or the other parent’s attorney.) So any hearing that has to do with a parent being accused of abusing or neglecting a child, or with termination of parental rights, wouldn’t include the children who are directly affected by the final decisions.

CPS hearings can impact a child’s entire life, moving forward!

This means that children are shut out of the hearings that have the greatest impact on their lives – the ones that could determine who their family members would be in future, or which parent will be allowed to see them as they grow up, and which parent will be gone forever. For children, this must be incredible hard, as the decisions that could change their families forever are being made by strangers, and they’re not allowed to be present, or give their opinion.

Some hearings are simply not the right place for children!

While it may sound harsh to cut a child out of the process so completely, most judges and attorneys would agree that many hearings are not appropriate for children. At times when sexual assault is being discussed in court, or very sensitive testimony is being given by another child, are good examples of times when children are best not included. Another example would be when their parent is being discussed in a negative way, or having their psychological fitness questioned in court.

Talk to your attorney about your children’s participation.

If you are battling CPS, and your children want to participate in the hearings that will impact their futures, talk to your attorney. In most cases it won’t make a difference, but every now and then, based on the child’s age and maturity, and the specific allegations being made, the court may allow it. Discuss your options with your attorney and see what allowances can be made, if any. (However DON’T talk to your kids about the case – you could be accused of influencing them, and telling them what to say!)

Make sure you get a good attorney!

If you’re up against CPS and fighting for your parenting rights, then you’re going to need help from a highly skilled CPS defense attorney with decades of experience. So call The Kronzek Firm today at 866 766 5245 and discuss your situation with someone who can help. We’re available 24/7, to help you, as we’ve helped countless others over the years.