Is Every Foster Care Removal Really an Emergency?

You’ve read the news. So you’ve heard all the horror stories about children being beaten and burned and sexually assaulted by their caregivers, or worse – their own parents. But just like in every aspect of life, the worst case scenarios always make the news. Because tragedy, and emergency situations, makes great headlines. And misery sells. 

Black and white picture of a sad looking little girl walking down a pathway, dragging a large teddy bear with her.

What doesn’t sell, however, is all those basic, everyday encounters between struggling parents and stressed out CPS workers. All the average, “someone said your kid had a bruise on her arm” situations, where parents are called into question by the state for some perceived screw up that becomes an abuse or neglect investigation. All the non-emergencies. Although it seems CPS often struggles to tell the difference.

How do you differentiate between an emergency and a solvable problem?

Sometimes CPS workers show up at a home and there’s hardly any food. Is that an emergency? Maybe. It depends on the situation. If the kids are horribly malnourished and you can count every one of their ribs, and they’re eating cigarette butts out of desperation, it would be hard to fault a CPS worker for assuming it was an emergency. 

But if the kids are not half starved, and their parent can explain what’s going on – “We’re running low right now, but I get paid tomorrow and then we’ll be grocery shopping” or “I’m having a hard time making ends meet but we have a bridge card and my mom comes by with groceries when things get tight.” Then it’s not an emergency. And those kids definitely shouldn’t be removed from their family’s care.

What other options are available for non emergency situations?

In a situation like the one we just mentioned, where a family is struggling financially, and food is sometimes in short supply, there are loads of options available. If the family doesn’t have a Bridge card, or WIC, the CPS worker could direct them to the right agency where they can get help. There is also the option of a local food bank, or even charities that provide groceries for struggling families.

Removing kids from their parents simply because those parents are having a hard time providing doesn’t make sense. There are countless situations where CPS shows up and is faced with a family that’s in difficulty. Single moms who leave young kids alone at home because they need to work, and they don’t have daycare options. Or parents who don’t earn enough to pay all the bills and put food on the table consistently. But these aren’t emergencies. And they don’t warrant tearing families apart. They are problems, and there are solutions available.

Removing a child should be a last resort, not a first solution

When faced with a child welfare dilemma, a CPS worker should always approach it from the perspective of wanting to solve the problem while keeping the family intact. It’s not always possible, and there are definitely situations where kids are in danger and need to be removed for their own safety, but not nearly as many as they would have you believe. And the more kids are taken from their families, the more problems are created, both now and in the future.

At The Kronzek Firm we know that many situations where CPS steps in and removes kids from their families, were situations that could easily have been solved by providing services or information. As CPS defense attorneys who’ve been battling to protect parent rights and keep Michigan families together for decades, we know how quickly a CPS “intervention” can become a family torn apart. Don’t let it happen to you! Call 866 766 5245 right now, and let us help you keep your precious family together!