Many things will change in the wake of the Larry Nassar case. Some of them are great changes – women and girls will be more likely to speak up when they’ve been assaulted, knowing that they’ll be believed. MSU will hopefully do a better job of handling future allegations of sexual assault. But not everything that changes will be for the best. Parents won’t be as willing to trust doctors with their children. And Michigan’s Mandated Reporter laws are stated to change in ways that might put more kids at risk!
How could post-Nassar changes make things worse for kids?
Currently, Michigan law governing mandatory reporting of child abuse or neglect has a very specific list of people who are classified by the state as ‘mandated reporters’. A mandated reporter is someone who MUST report to CPS or the police if they have “reasonable cause to suspect” that child abuse or child neglect is happening, or has happened in the past.
Anyone on the list of mandated reporters who is suspected of knowing about child abuse or neglect and choosing not to report it, can be charged with a crime! However, anyone not included in that list doesn’t count as a mandatory reporter, and therefore can’t be charged with a crime if they fail to report child abuse. But this may be changing soon in Michigan.
Changes to state law would expand the list of mandatory reporters
House Bill 5538, introduced by State Representative Brandt Iden, recommends increasing the already extensive list to include “athletic trainers” and “coaches.” The bill also proposes to increase the punishments for mandatory reporters who fail to report suspected child abuse or neglect. Under current law the penalty is a misdemeanor, but under the new law that would change to a two year felony.
But the risk to Michigan’s children would be great!
Recent testimony made by Attorney Frank Vandervort, professor of law at the University of Michigan, before the House Law and Justice Committee concerned legislation, shed a concerning light on the proposed legislation. After a similar sex scandal at Penn State, there was a significant increase in child abuse reports in Pennsylvania.
However the number of substantiated reports actually dropped, and the number of child deaths increased! “You had your CPS (Child Protective Services) folks investigating a lot of low-quality reports,” Vandervort told the Committee. “And then the really serious cases, you just get a system that’s overwhelmed and you’re going to the wrong cases.”
Foster care panic is always detrimental to children!
Foster care panic and it’s tragic effect on children’s lives is a subject we’ve discussed before. When public outrage at a single instance forces the hand of CPS, and legitimate abuse cases slip through the cracks because workers are so focused on investigating innocent families, children suffer! This has to be avoided at all costs!
Here at The Kronzek Firm, we’ve made it one of our primary goals to stand in the gap for families battling CPS. So if you or a loved one have been contacted by CPS, or accused of abusing or neglecting a child, call The Kronzek Firm immediately at 866 766 5245! Our skilled CPS defense attorneys have decades of experience protecting families and defending parental rights! We can help you and your loved ones to battle a system stacked against you, and work towards keeping your children in your home!