Michigan Child Neglect
Laws and Punishments
In Michigan, you can be investigated for and charged with Child Abuse, Child Neglect, or both. If you require information on Child Abuse, please visit our Michigan Child Abuse information. This article discusses Child Neglect in Michigan.
What is Child Neglect?
Children’s Protective Services (“CPS”) is the government entity that investigates Child Neglect. CPS then makes a recommendation to the Family Court as to whether they think you are guilty of Child Neglect. Child Neglect is officially defined as:
“harm or threatened harm to a child’s health or welfare by a parent, legal guardian, or any other person responsible for the child’s health or welfare that occurs through either: (1) negligent treatment, including the failure to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, or medical care, or (2) placing a child at an unreasonable risk to the child’s health or welfare by failure of the parent, legal guardian, or other person responsible for the child’s health or welfare to intervene to eliminate that risk when that person is able to do so and has, or should have, knowledge of the risk.”
This is a long definition, but basically Child Neglect is when a child is harmed or threatened to be harmed by the failure to provide for the child or the failure to intervene when the child is already being harmed. In a CPS case, the parties are usually arguing about whether the child was harmed or threatened to be harmed.
There are numerous ways CPS could be tipped off to possible Child Neglect. Some people your child interacts with, such as teachers, counselors, and doctors, are required to make a report to CPS about your situation if they believe with “reasonable cause to suspect” that there is Child Neglect occurring. These people are called Mandatory Reporters. However, anyone can make a CPS report if they suspect Child Neglect. So, perhaps your neighbors, or your family members, or other acquaintances called CPS to tell them that they suspect you are neglecting your children.
Once CPS becomes involved, they will start an investigation. This investigation usually starts with talking to your children at school and interviewing others. Once CPS has done this preliminary research into the situation, they will decide whether the case needs to be pursued further. If CPS does proceed, they can wreak havoc on your family life. They can come to your home and demand to talk to you (if this occurs, politely tell them they do not have permission to enter your home and do not let them in). They can get the court to require you to attend classes, counseling, and other meetings. In extreme cases, they can even get the court to take away your parental rights to your children!
So, it is important to educate yourself on what they are looking for when they are investigating suspected Child Neglect. There are many types of Child Neglect in Michigan. Here are some of the main types:
Negligent Supervision occurs when a child suffers a bodily injury or is at a substantial risk of immediate harm due to the offender placing the child at, or failing to remove a child from, a place where a reasonable person would know that care and caution are required because the child is not mature enough to make those judgments for himself or herself. An example of this might be allowing a child to play amongst heavy machinery. A reasonable adult would know that crawling up and down on large, movable machines could cause immediate bodily injury, while a child might think it is fun and not see the potential danger.
Failure to Protect
Failure to Protect occurs if a person knows or has reason to know that a child is being abused but knowingly allows the abuse to continue. An example of this is if a mother allows her boyfriend to physically, sexually, or emotionally abuse her children. Instead of getting the children out of the situation, she continually exposes them to the abuse but does nothing about it.
You have probably heard of Domestic Violence. Domestic Violence is coercion, physical abuse, sexual abuse, or psychological abuse that occurs between adult or adolescent partners. The reason CPS becomes involved is because it is harmful to the child to observe this type of behavior or to be involved in this type of behavior. Children who regularly view Domestic Violence are often fearful and pick up those violent behaviors.
It is important that children attend school on a regular basis. Not only does school provide a learning environment for children, but it provides socialization skills, as well. When a child is consistently absent, it is a reflection on the parents’ parenting skills. When a parent or guardian fails to ensure the child regularly attends school, it is called Educational Neglect. On its own, Educational Neglect is not enough to warrant a CPS investigation, but if CPS is already involved in the case for another reason, they will tack this onto their allegations.
Your Michigan Child Neglect Lawyers
At Kronzek & Cronkright, PLLC, we often represent clients who are being investigated for, or who have been charged with, Child Neglect. We have assembled a team of aggressive CPS defense attorneys who know what it takes to defend you against CPS and Child Neglect charges. We offer you a free initial meeting with one of these CPS attorneys where you can come in and confidentially talk about your case. All you have to do is call to set up that meeting: 866 766 5245.