Hi there and welcome back to this convo about what happens when CPS petitions the court to have your children taken away in Michigan. For a parent, the thought that a government agency can simply step in and break up your family without warning is terrifying. After all, who else can do that besides a kidnapper? And what makes this worse is that it’s sanctioned by the state. So unlike a kidnapping, where you can call the FBI and get free and immediate help, you have to pay an attorney to fight on your behalf when CPS steps in. And it’s not cheap. So where does that leave you? As we mentioned in the previous article, thankfully you have choices. But first, you need to know what comes next…
The probable cause hearing: Who gets to keep your kids?
As we said before, once CPS files the petition for removal with the family court, the court schedules a probable cause hearing. This is where a Judge will listen to the evidence against you, and determine if your children really are at risk. If the Judge decides that you’re not a neglectful or abusive parent, chances are your children will be left in your custody. And while CPS is likely to continue investigating you, at least your family will be intact.
If, however, the Judge believes CPS, and decides that your children are in danger of further abuse or neglect, they’ll allow the CPS worker to place your children into foster care. But even if that happens, you still have some rights. For example, if you disagree with the placement that CPS proposes, you are allowed to speak up in court and request that your children be placed with a specific friend or relative who has agreed to take them (Remember though, that the final decision is still made by the court.)
Having your kids taken away now doesn’t mean it’s forever!
Although it can feel like the end of the world when the court agrees to let the agency remove your kids from your care, it’s important to remember that it’s not forever. Unless CPS is trying to terminate your parental rights, the goal is ultimately to reunite you with your children. However, that doesn’t mean you don’t have a serious battle ahead of you. Reunification is a slow process, and the agency has a tendency to drag their feet and make you jump through hoops to prove your “worthiness” as a parent.
Assuming the end goal isn’t termination, CPS will recommend services, like substance abuse counseling and parenting classes, that they believe will help your family work towards reunification. Discuss these services and your options with your attorney, but it is in your best interest to complete the recommended courses, as the court takes a dim view of a parent who doesn’t “make the effort” to get their kids back.
This is why you need an aggressive CPS defense attorney on your side
If your children are removed from your custody by the state, and you choose not to accept a plea with regard to the accusations against you, the next step is a trial. Join us next time to take a look at what happens during a CPS trial, and the options you have to fight for your parenting rights. Until then, if you or a loved one have been accused of abuse or neglect by CPS, contact The Kronzek Firm immediately at 866 766 5245. Our experienced CPS defense attorneys have spent decades defending the families of mid-Michigan against the invasive and overzealous tactics of CPS, and we can help you too!