Cultural Misunderstandings Can Lead to CPS Interventions in Michigan. (Pt 1)

Three Haitian children sitting together - one boy and two girls.
Parents who come from other countries often struggle to overcome language and cultural barriers and have little to no support systems in place to help them.

Michigan is a melting pot of cultures, ethnicities, and racial variety. Between the extensive immigrant and resettled refugee populations, and the many people living here whose parents and grandparents came here from other countries, you’d be hard-pressed to not find just about every corner of the world represented. But while the rich diversity of cultures, languages, and lifestyles makes Michigan an interesting place to live, it can also complicate certain things. Like interactions with CPS.

Consider how hard it is for English-speaking Americans to deal with CPS. The complex policies and laws, the agency’s sense of entitlement and lack of accountability – they all add up to make any encounters with a CPS worker terrible. Now try to imagine what that encounter is like for someone who is struggling to learn English and doesn’t fully understand what’s happening. Or someone who has lived through enormous tragedy lost many loved ones, and now has a stranger at the door trying to take their children away

Language and cultural barriers make CPS interactions a lot harder!

There have been many cases, especially here in Lansing, where CPS has been called to homes for alleged neglect, only to discover that the family had no idea they couldn’t leave their kids unattended. In their experience, in the refugee camps where they had lived, there was no one to watch their children while they were out working, or begging for money. So their children simply stayed home and entertained themselves while they waited for their parents to return. Those parents had no idea CPS existed, or that there were laws preventing them from leaving their children alone. 

When CPS shows up, they had to try and figure out what country the person comes from, what language they speak, and whether or not a translator is available. It has to be explained to the family (or in some cases, the single parent) that in Michigan they can’t leave their kids unattended for long periods of time or they could get into trouble. They often don’t understand why. After all, they did this for years before arriving in Michigan and nothing bad happened. Or they understand the law but don’t have a solution for their situation. If they have no support system in place (which is often the case for refugees and immigrants), there’s no one to help them with their children, and they have no choice about working.

Being a stranger in a strange place is terrifying!

Most people who move to Michigan from other countries, whether they choose to come here or a series of tragedies brought them here, face obstacles we can’t imagine. They are living in a culture that is foreign to them, surrounded by people who aren’t always welcoming and struggling to learn a language that is very different from their own. They have no support systems in place, many of them have survived enormous tragedies and lost loved ones along the way, and now some stranger is at their door, trying to take away their children! It’s a very scary proposition!

Regardless of who you are, or where you come from when CPS shows up on your doorstep, it’s frightening! Someone threatening to take your kids away has got to be one of the worst experiences a parent could have. And that’s why we do what we do. At The Kronzek Firm, our highly reputable CPS defense attorneys make it a point to defend every client we take on as if they were family, and as if their children were our children. If CPS is harassing and threatening you, call 866 766 5245 today and get help from the professionals.

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