CPS has always been a reactive agency. As in: a teacher or pastor or neighbor sees something they think may be child abuse and they call CPS to report it. CPS arrives to check it out, and the determination they make is based solely on their investigation, which is prompted by that report from outside the agency. But Covid19 is changing a lot of how life is lived and work is done, including the way government agencies operate. And CPS certainly isn’t immune to those changes. But what exactly does that look like?
The agency is changing from reactive to proactive in its approach.
There is a lot less for the agency to react to, now that kids aren’t in school, attending summer camps, or gathering at gyms and recreation centers. On the whole, communities are seeing much less of each other, which means fewer opportunities to encounter children. And fewer opportunities to see something that may need to be reported. Which means that CPS has a lot less in the way of abuse or neglect calls to respond to. So what are they doing with themselves, now that they have extra time on their hands? They’re changing their approach, from reactive to proactive, which is apparently something that has been in the works from before the pandemic started.
The federal government promised to support these changes across the country
According to the Executive Director of the Children’s Services Agency JooYeun Chang, the federal government made changes to the laws a few years ago that forced child welfare agencies across the nation to reexamine their own approaches, and make some necessary changes. In addition, they promised to provide the financial support required to support those changes. “So we looked at the data and what we found was actually, kids come to our attention at the hotline more than once before we actually intervene and take actions.” Chang explained in an interview with Woodtv.com.
Covid will make a bad thing worse for many Michigan families in need
“We looked and found that there were a lot of moderate risk families who had come to our attention even in the last six months. We knew based on the data and the research analysis that those families had a significantly higher chance of actually escalating in need and needing foster care as an intervention tool,” says Chang. She cites poverty as a primary cause for concern. Parents with mental health issues who can’t afford meds due to job loss, single parents who can’t afford child care, and domestic violence are all common situations where parents need help. “We decided that we weren’t going to sit idly by and wait until things got better before we took action.” Chang explains.
So what exactly does the agency plan to do in future for struggling families?
Join us next time for a look at the ways child welfare in Michigan is working to change their responses, and how this may impact your family. Until then, remember that changes in government agencies tend to take a long time, and just because the agency is reconfiguring their approach, doesn’t mean they aren’t still a potential threat to an innocent family. If a CPS worker has reached out to you in any way, or told you that they are concerned about your children’s safety, contact The Kronzek Firm immediately at 866 766 5245. Our skilled CPS defense attorneys have decades of experience successfully defending Michigan’s parents against CPS, and we can help you too!