Thank you for joining us once again in this somewhat controversial discussion about the Michigan Central Registry. If you are just joining us, you may find it helps to read the previous articles in this series. However, if you’ve been with us from the start, you’ll know that what the central registry is, what information it contains, how to get your name removed from it, and CPS categorizes abuse and neglect cases. Moving forward, we’re going to be looking at what services CPS provides to the families it interacts with, and what happens when the court gets involved.
In the previous article we talked about the fact that in category 1 through 4 cases, ‘community services’ are either offered or required in order for families to remain in compliance. However, for those of you who may not know what those services entail, we have provided a basic breakdown of the most common services that CPS provides:
- Parenting classes
- Counseling to help manage anger, stress, or other problems
- Help for developmental delays (Early On program)
- Help for a drug or alcohol problem
- Help for domestic violence
- Job training and search services
- Help for mental health problems
Once CPS is involved in your family’s life, there is a good chance that the court will end up involved as well. Any time CPS removes a child from their home, it begins with a petition, which the court must authorize in order for it to be legal.
A petition is essentially a formal request made by CPS for the court to allow the agency to intervene and protect a child. All child protective proceedings begin with a petition, which is not the same as with a criminal case.
A CPS petition is usually filed for one or more of the following reasons:
- To order a family to cooperate with in-home services
- To order the person accused of abuse or neglect to leave the home and live somewhere else until the issue is resolved
- To order the removal of the child from a home where they are not deemed safe by CPS workers
In cases where the abuse or neglect are considered to be very serious, the petition may also include a request that the court terminate the parental rights. This would mean that the parent or parents may have all of their legal rights to their child severed. It is a permanent and irreversible decision, that ends all legal contact and connection between a child and a parent. However, once the decision is made, it is still possible for a parent to appeal the decision with the help of a skilled attorney.
Both parents and the child will be considered parties in the case, even if they do not all live together. The parent who is accused of the abuse or neglect, called the Respondent, is entitled to a court appointed attorney if they can prove that they cannot afford to hire an attorney. The child is assigned an attorney by the court, which is called a Lawyer-Guardian ad-litem. It is this person’s job to represent the child’s best interests during the court proceedings.
Join us next time, when we will be looking at exactly what the court process entails for families involved in CPS cases with the court. Until then, if you or a loved one have been accused of abusing or neglecting a child, contact us immediately at 866-346-5879. CPS takes these cases very seriously, and the sooner you have an experienced attorney fighting for your parental rights and protecting your family, the sooner you can get past this terrible time and put it all behind you.