The Movement to Quickly Report Child Abuse … Are There Downsides?

Here in Michigan and nationally, there have been increased measures taken to protect children from neglect and abuse. Keeping children safe is of course a priority, but there is one growing consequence of this movement – falsely accused parents. Our team of experienced CPS defense attorneys sees increasing numbers of false accusations of child abuse throughout the lower peninsula of Michigan. 

Imagine you take your child to their medical checkup and bruises are found on their legs. You have no idea what happened, so you can’t give an explanation to the nurse when she asks how they occurred. An exam is done and tests are administered, but there seems to be no clear medical explanation for the bruises. Since unexplained bruises could be a sign of possible child abuse, the nurse, a mandatory reporter, calls Children’s Protective Services (CPS) to report potential abuse. The nurse doesn’t understand and frankly does not care that Michigan’s Child Protection Law requires mandated reporters to report only a “reasonable suspicion” of child abuse, not every possible case of child abuse. Although you did nothing wrong, it is determined that you should be charged with child abuse. This might be in a CPS / Neglect and Abuse case, but parents also get charged with criminal child abuse. It can be a double whammy. Two different charges based on an injury. 

The situation described above is a nightmare for parents, but it has really happened. It doesn’t matter if you’re in Central Michigan. Lansing, Up North, or Metro-Detroit, this could happen to anyone. We handle these cases daily with parents being charged by CPS and/or by a Michigan prosecuting attorney. 

spending time behind bars

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

The intention of the increase in mandatory reporters and ease of reporting is certainly with good intention, but caution must also be taken. Mandatory reporters can face harsh penalties if they fail to report. In fact, our CPS defense team has seen mandatory reporters charged with a crime for failing to report. This plays a factor in the increased number of reports, and in turn, false reports. They err on the side of caution and report anything and everything to ensure they do not face penalties. 

Misdiagnosis is also a problem and is often the result of failing to consider alternatives. It is estimated that in the United States, one-third of children have been investigated for some type of child neglect or abuse. In African American families, the number is increased to one out of every two children. 

If a doctor is the one making the report, they are usually believed by CPS or the police. They are in an extreme position of power that can be left unchecked. Everyone can make a mistake, even a doctor. There are a few doctors here in Michigan that are notorious for thinking that every injury to a child results from child abuse. Fortunately, the best CPS defense attorneys have become very familiar with those offending physicians. 

The Impact Of a False Report

The impact of a false report on parents can be disastrous. Not only can they run up considerable legal fees, but their sense of family security and privacy will also be shaken. Some can even lose their jobs based on these false allegations. Sadly, great parents end up in the battle of their lives when incorrect allegations are made against them. 

A false report can further impact the well-being of a child. When a report is made and a child is removed from their family, this can disrupt their development and cause serious mental health issues. Children can spend weeks and months separated from their parents and often are too young to understand what is happening. Even if abuse is finally discredited, the harm is often already done. All too often, CPS is quick to ask a judge to remove a child from their home until they can sort things out. 

Unfortunately, suspicion of child abuse creates confirmation bias and it is often difficult to un-ring that bell. Parents are sometimes put into a position of being guilty until proven innocent.

I Have Been Falsely Accused of Child Abuse, What Can I Do?

If you are being falsely accused of child abuse or neglecting a child, you should seek experienced and proven CPS representation immediately. Whether facing a situation described above or being falsely accused by your former partner in a contentious custody battle, The Kronzek Firm is here to help! There is nothing more important than protecting your rights regarding your children. We provide consultations 24/7 at 866-766-5245. We’ve successfully helped parents since the last century. Call us today and let us start fighting for your family. 



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