Welcome back and thanks for joining us again for this discussion about how false positive drug screenings of new moms can result in their babies being taken by CPS. As we mentioned in the previous article, this is a major problem in Alabama, which just happens to be the state that leads the U.S. in prosecutions of young mothers accused of exposing their babies to drugs in utero. But what is Michigan’s stance on this issue? Are moms here in the Great Lakes state at risk of prosecution if their babies are born with drugs in their systems?
Michigan doesn’t recognize a fetus as a “child”
There was a significant case here in Michigan a few years ago that changed the way Michigan dealt with these sorts of cases. 30-year-old Melissa Lee Jones was convicted of child abuse for using drugs during her pregnancy, however she fought the conviction on the grounds that the definition of “child” in Michigan’s child abuse statute didn’t include unborn babies. In the end, the Michigan Court of Appeals agreed with her and threw out her conviction. This decision has enormous implications for Michigan mothers in the future, as it’ll be referred to by other Judges when faced with similar cases, and will impact how prosecutors handle situations where babies are born with drug addictions.
What do Michigan healthcare workers do with babies born addicted to drugs?
It’s standard procedure in Michigan for CPS to be notified when a baby tests positive for drugs after birth. Typically, CPS opens an investigation into the mother. If they’re able to prove that the mother used drugs during the pregnancy, the agency typically removes the child from the mother’s custody and, depending on the severity of the situation, petitions for termination of the parent’s rights. And if you’re confused about how this could happen when we just explained Jones’ case being tossed by the Appeals Court, remember that CPS is not the same as the cops. And criminal charges aren’t the same as a CPS petition.
So what happens if a Michigan mom tests positive for drugs after birth?
As the Appellate Court explained “A fetus is not a ‘child’ for purposes of the first-degree child abuse statute…” Which means that you’re not likley to be charged with child abuse or any other criminal charge, just because yours or your baby’s blood work comes back positive for drugs after childbirth. But that doesn’t mean CPS won’t step in and try to take your baby away. It also doesn’t mean that they won’t try to take your other kids away as well, or try to terminate your parental rights (which means you lose all access to your kids forever!)
This is why you need an aggressive CPS defense attorney!
Testing positive for drugs before or after childbirth may not result in criminal charges here in Michigan, but that doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods. CPS has a long history of trying to take children from their parents, even when it can be proven that those parents have done nothing wrong. And that’s where we come in. As dedicated and experienced CPS defense attorneys, we’ve spent decades fighting CPS to protect parents and keep families together. Call 866 766 5245 todayand let us help you protect what matters most.