Michigan Child Neglect
Laws and Punishments
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: (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.”
Simply put, Child Neglect occurs when you harm or threaten to harm or child and 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.
There are many different ways that CPS can find out about Child Neglect. Your child interacts 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 and doctors. However, anyone is allowed to report to CPS. This could mean that your neighbors, friends or family members might call CPS if they, for any reason, think you might be neglecting your child.
Children’s Protective Services (CPS) is the state of Michigan department that investigates Child Neglect. CPS is a division of Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHA). If someone suspects your child is being neglected, they may report to CPS and then CPS will investigate the complaint. Next, CPS will make a recommendation whether or not they believe that child abuse or child neglect are present. 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 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.
If CPS is involved, they will immediately start an investigation which is supposed to be finished within 30 days. First, CPS may go to your child’s school to speak with the child – they will not ask you for permission to do so. School officials are required by law to cooperate with CPS and to allow CPS investigators to speak with your child without your permission. As you can already see, 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 to speak with you. If they come to your home, you can politely ask them to leave. They could take you to court and might try to get the court to require you to attend counseling, classes, and other meetings. It is sometimes even the case that CPS tries to completely revoke your parental rights and take your child away from you! These are extreme cases but they do happen all the time all over our state.
Because the consequences of Child Neglect can be so serious, it is vital 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 because they are placed in a position or situation that any reasonable adult would know is too dangerous for a child because a child lacks the maturity and judgment to protect him/herself in that specific situation. An example of Child Neglect is allowing your child to play near heavy machinery. Any reasonable adult would know that using heavy machinery as a jungle gym could immediately and severely harm a child, but the child might not see the potential danger and just think it’s fun to play on this equipment.
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 because anxious and fearful, and many of them will begin to pick up these negative behaviors.
Failure to Protect
Failure to protect is allowing your child to be abused by someone else. It means that, as a parent, you are simply a bystander; you know about the harm being done to your child, but do nothing about it. An example could be a mother allowing her boyfriend to emotionally, physically, or sexually abuse her children. The mother herself is not directly harming her children, but she continually exposes her children to someone who is actively abusing them.
Children must have regular attendance in school. 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 those allegations.
Experienced Michigan Child Neglect Lawyers
CPS can quickly control and destroy your entire family forever. 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. Come in for a free consultation with one of our CPS defense attorneys. We will confidentially discuss your case and plan your next steps. Set up a meeting today by calling 1-866-766-5245.