If you know anything about CPS in Michigan, then you know that sometimes, when kids get taken away from their parents, they get put into foster care. However, in a number of cases, the foster homes those kids are placed into aren’t the homes of strangers, but rather the homes of a grandmother, or an aunt and uncle, or maybe even an adult cousin.
Either way, going to stay with relatives is almost always better, both for the kids and for their parents. Knowing that your child is being cared for by someone who cares about them is a huge relief during this turbulent time in a parent’s life. And for children, staying with family (especially if they already have a relationship with those relatives) makes the process of being removed from your parents a lot less stressful.
Who counts as a relative in Michigan?
Michigan’s legal definition of ‘relative’ is actually broader than most people realize. According to the state, a relative is anyone related to the child “by blood, marriage, or adoption.” This can mean grandparents, great-grandparents, great-great-grandparents, aunts or uncles, great-aunts or great-uncles, siblings, step siblings, nephews or nieces, first cousins or first cousins once removed.
This can also mean the spouses of any of those previously mentioned relatives, even if the marriage that connected them to the child has ended (by death or divorce.) There have even been instances where a child was placed with a ‘putative father’ which means a man who has no legally established relationship to a child, but who claims to be the father, or who is alleged to be the father, even though he wasn’t married to the child’s mother at the time of birth. So as you can see, ‘relative’ can mean a whole lot of people, and you have a lot of options.
Being a relative isn’t enough for CPS, though!
Michigan law requires that the courts and CPS give serious consideration to any and all viable relative placement options. Which means that if there are relatives who are willing and able to do what it takes to become caregivers for your kids, CPS must look into that option before putting your child in a traditional foster home.
However, while ‘relative placement’ is almost always preferable in the eyes of the state, being related to you and being willing to take your kids in isn’t actually enough. In order to be considered a viable option, your relative also has to meet the state’s basic requirements for a placement home.
Dealing with CPS can be a terrifying experience for parents!
Knowing that the state can decide that you’re a bad parent and take your kids away without you ever having been convicted of a crime or even formally accused in a court of law is horrifying! And yet CPS has a lot of power, and can make decisions about your ability to parent that will affect both you and your children’s lives in major ways!
Join us next time for a look at what Michigan’s basic requirements for relative foster placement homes are. Until then, if you or a loved one are in danger of losing your children to CPS, and want to ensure they are placed with loved ones until they’re returned to you, call us immediately at 866 766 5345. The skilled CPS defense attorneys at The Kronzek Firm have spent decades fighting CPS, and we can help you too.