Thanks for joining us again to discuss the Michigan Central Registry, also known as the Child Abuse and Neglect Central Registry. Having already talked about what the registry is and what information it contains, in this third installment we are going to be looking at how to go about getting your name removed from the list.
According to Michigan law, while CPS is not required to prove in a court of law that someone is guilty of abuse before putting their name on the list, they are required to notify you that your name has been added. This is actually a relatively recent addition to the law, as initially CPS was not even required to notify people that their names had been added to a list of suspected (but not formally accused or convicted) child abusers.
However, once CPS has notified you, via certified mail, that your name has been put on the list, what can you do? Well, there are a number of options available to you, but your very first reaction should be to call your attorney! The sooner you sit down with an experienced CPS defense attorney and discuss your case, the sooner they will be able to begin constructing your defense.
Once you have notified your attorney and met with them to discuss your case, they will draft a response letter to the DHHS director in the county where the abuse or neglect investigation was conducted. If you have not retained an attorney, you will need to write the letter yourself. Be sure to write the letter within 180 days, as that is the cut off! However, you may be be granted State plainly in the letter that you do not agree with the conclusions that CPS came to about you, and that you want your name removed from the list.
There is a chance that this will be all you will have to do, and your name will simply be removed from the list. However, that is unlikely. More often than not, DHHS will deny your request, and will schedule an administrative hearing instead. If you receive a letter from DHHS stating that an administrative hearing has been scheduled for you, it will also tell you the date, time and location of the hearing.
When you attend the hearing, it will be presided over by an administrative Judge, who will hear from both sides and determine whether or not your name should be removed from the list. You would be advised to notify your attorney as soon as you know when and where the hearing will take place, so that they can attend with you. This way you have a much better chance that your rights will not be violated.
Brandy Thompson, an experienced CPD attorney at the Kronzek Firm, says that “if you want to have an attorney represent you at this hearing and you have not already hired one, do it quickly. The more time the attorney has to prepare, the better your chances of success.”
If your appeal is also denied, and the abuse falls into either of the CPS categories I or II, your name will remain on the Central Registry for a full 10 years. If the alleged abuse involved certain types of serious harm to the child, including severe physical injury or sexual assault, your name will be kept on the list for the remainder of your lifetime.
Either way, the results can be life-altering. If you are wondering about what a category I or II form of abuse is, you are not alone. CPS has a detailed system into which they divide all forms of abuses and neglect, in order to determine what responses are required for each situation. Join us next time, as we will be breaking down those categories and discussing what each one means.
At the Kronzek Firm, our skilled attorneys have spent years defending parents and caregivers against the bullying tactics employed by CPS agents. In pursuit of protection for children, many CPS workers sometimes railroad parents and spread misinformation that can damage people’s futures. So if you have been accused of abuse or neglect, call us today at 866-346-5879. We are here to help you.