Michigan Child Neglect
In Michigan, you can be investigated for and charged with Child Abuse, Child Neglect, or both. Here, you will read about Child Neglect in Michigan. To find more information on Child Abuse, please visit our page on Michigan Child Abuse.
What is Child Neglect?
The official definition of Child Neglect is:
“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: (i) negligent treatment, including the failure to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, or medical care, or (ii) 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.” Child Protection Law Act 238; Sec. 722.622 (Sec. 2)(k)
Simply put, child neglect occurs when a person harms or threatens to harm a child. In addition, the harm comes from neglecting the child or putting a child at risk of harm. This can include failing to provide for your child or failing to intervene when someone else is harming your child. In our experience, if Children’s Protective Services is accusing one parent of abuse or neglect, they often accuse the other parent of “failure to protect” the child. These accusations are often based on false or exaggerated information.
With a court case resting on a flawed foundation, it’s easy for Children’s Protective Services to continue building on similarly flawed evidence. Once the court has taken jurisdiction over the family, it is oftentimes a lengthy and difficult process to put your family back together. At Kronzek Law Firm, we will fight for you and your family.
There are many different ways that Children’s Protective Services receives information about child neglect. The child may interact with “mandatory reporters” who are required to alert CPS as soon as they have any “reasonable cause to suspect” neglect. These individuals include counselors, teachers, law enforcement, nurses, clergy, and doctors. However, anyone is allowed to report to CPS. This could mean that your neighbors, friends, or family might call CPS. They can do so, for any reason, if they suspect a child has been neglected.
Children’s Protective Services (CPS) is the state of Michigan department that investigates child neglect. Children’s Protective Services is a division of Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). If someone suspects that a child is being neglected, they may report to CPS, and CPS will investigate the complaint. Next, CPS will determine whether or not they believe that child abuse or child neglect is occurring. If not, they will close their file. If they see evidence of child neglect or child abuse, they categorize it. Specific levels of neglect or abuse may result in CPS filing a “petition” in family court. Lesser levels of abuse or neglect might result in CPS requesting that the parent participate in various services to address the milder abuse or neglect issues. When CPS substantiates a parent for child neglect or child abuse, that parent sometimes is listed on Michigan’s child abuse registry.
If CPS is involved, they will immediately start an investigation. Such investigations are supposed to be finished within 30 days. First, CPS may go to your child’s school to speak with them. CPS will not ask for your permission to do so. School officials are required by law to cooperate with CPS and to allow CPS investigators to speak to your child without parental consent. A CPS investigation can rapidly and dramatically impact your family life.
The next step CPS might take is to disrupt you at home or at work. If they come to your home, you can politely ask them to leave. You are not required to allow them into your home and you are not required to leave your home, unless they have a court order. In some cases, CPS could take a parent to court. CPS may attempt to obtain a court order and legally compel the parent to attend counseling, classes, drug / alcohol testing, and other meetings. In extreme circumstances, CPS may try to completely revoke / terminate your parental rights and permanently take your child away from you. These are extreme cases, but they happen all the time all over our state. The attorneys at The Kronzek Firm have successfully represented thousands of clients in Michigan for more than 25 years. We fight CPS every day.
Because the consequences of child neglect can be so serious, it is critical that you recognize the different types of child neglect in Michigan and the different warning signs CPS might be looking for. Outlined below are some of the more common types of child neglect.
Negligent Supervision occurs when a child is harmed or is at risk of being harmed. Negligence is implicated when a child is placed in a situation that any reasonable adult would know is too dangerous for a child. This is because a child lacks the maturity and judgment to protect himself / herself in that specific situation.
Ex) Allowing your child to play near heavy machinery.
Domestic Violence is coercion, physical abuse, sexual abuse, or psychological abuse that occurs between adult or adolescent partners. Even though Domestic Violence might not directly involve your children, it is included here because it can be harmful for your child to be in a household where this constantly occurs. Children who are regularly exposed to Domestic Violence become anxious and fearful. Many of them will begin to pick up these negative behaviors. For purposes of a CPS investigation, their policy is that children living in a house where the parents regularly shout, fight, or make the home environment unsafe puts the child at risk of harm.
Ex) Parents fighting continuously in their home.
Failure to Protect
Failure to Protect is allowing your child to be abused by someone else. Parents are charged with this offense when they know about the harm being done to their child, but do nothing about it.
Ex) A mother allowing her boyfriend to emotionally, physically, or sexually abuse her children.
Educational Neglect is when a parent or guardian fails to provide children with adequate resources to education. Children must have regular attendance in school by law. Children not only need school for their general education, but also for the vital social skills that school will teach them. Having a significant number of absences from school can be a sign of one of the other forms of child neglect. Although being absent from school is normally not enough of a reason in itself for CPS to start an investigation, if any other signs of neglect are found, Educational Neglect will compound these allegations.
Ex) A child not attending school for several consecutive weeks.
Experienced Michigan Child Neglect Lawyers
Ultimately, CPS can quickly overwhelm the family unit and destroy it. Sometimes for months, sometimes for years, and sometimes forever. And frankly, CPS often gets it wrong! They may have received false information, the allegations have been exaggerated, or perhaps there was a one-time incident that is unlikely to ever occur again. Regardless of the context of your particular case, The Kronzek Firm has been defending and protecting clients against child neglect charges and investigations for decades. Our aggressive CPS defense attorneys are ready to help you stand up against an invasive and unwarranted CPS investigation. Call us for a free initial consultation with one of our CPS defense warriors. We will confidentially discuss your case and plan your next steps. Set up a consultation today by calling 1 (866) 766 5245.