Factors That Could Influence CPS When it Comes to Removing Your Kids (Pt 3)

Unkempt child
Kids who often have unkempt hair and unwashed bodies can be assumed to be neglected by CPS.

Thanks for joining us again for another look at some of the reasons CPS workers decide that kids are at risk of being neglected. As we pointed out in the previous two articles, it’s rarely just one thing (unless that one thing is really extreme). Usually it’s a combo deal, where several signs seem to add up to a case of neglect. Like lice, which on its own isn’t a sign of poor parenting, but in conjunction with ill-fitting clothes and very little food in the house can lead a CPS worker to think that you’re not taking care of your kids properly. Here are a few more things to keep in mind…

Unbrushed hair can make kids look uncared for

If you’ve got kids with long hair (especially girls), then you already know how challenging it can be to deal with kids hair. In fact, we’ve talked to parents whose children are good as gold until the hair brush comes out, and suddenly it’s a reenactment of a scene from the exorcist. All because a mom is trying to work the tangles out of a sensitive child’s hair (and not because she’s a neglectful parent!). Which is why some parents simply give up. After all, it’s just hair, right? And when you’re rushing to get the kids to school on time, and there’s a million other things you need to deal with. Who cares?

CPS does. When a child shows up at school repeatedly with wild, uncombed hair, it could be a sign of a willful kid who hates brushing, or it could be a sign of a parent who doesn’t care. Which one is it? Some teachers will choose the latter, and call CPS to report possible neglect. And if any of those other factors are in play when the CPS worker shows up – no coat in the cold, not much food in the house, thin-looking kids, it could mean a removal!

Unwashed bodies can also point to kids not being cared for

Kids get grubby. That’s part of being a child. Between playing outside and having an underdeveloped sense of personal hygiene, most kids can get filthy in a short amount of time and not care at all. Add to that the fact that most kids don’t like to take baths, and you have a recipe for pretty grubby kids. But so what? Ask most busy moms and they’ll tell you (as will several recent scientific studies) that a little dirt never killed anyone. In fact, a little dirt goes a long way towards helping us bolster our immunity. So why would it be an issue for CPS?

Personal hygiene is important. And no, we don’t mean scrubbing yourself raw every day, we just mean basic care of the body, and these are things that kids learn from a young age. So kids that aren’t taught the basics, like daily oral care, regular baths, hair washing and proper wiping are usually viewed as kids who aren’t being properly cared for.  As we mentioned before, this by itself might not be cause for a CPS report, but when you add in a kid who looks malnourished and doesn’t have a winter coat, that wild hair can really matter!

CPS doesn’t need many reasons to take a kid from their family!

When we hear about child neglect in the news, it’s usually the extreme cases – kids left for days without food, or living in filthy homes without heat and running water. But neglect doesn’t have to be that extreme for CPS to step in. A child who is unwashed, poorly dressed for the weather, hungry, or has health concerns that appear to go untreated will likely be reported.

Many Michigan families struggle to meet the daily needs of the children in their care, and that can can often result in CPS getting involved. And as you know, CPS involvement is rarely a good thing! So if you’ve been accused of neglecting or abusing a child here in Michigan, call The Kronzek Firm at 866 766 5245 and talk to one of our skilled and experienced CPS defense attorneys. We’re on call 24/7 to help parents defend their children, and protect their rights to parent as they see fit.