Hello there and welcome back. We’ve been discussing what happens after someone calls the authorities and reports suspected child abuse or neglect, and what takes place after the report has been made. As we mentioned in the previous article, regardless of who you report to, in the end the cops are told.
And if CPS isn’t already in the loop, the cops usually reach out and include them in the process. So you end up with two separate investigations taking place simultaneously. But what actually happens if someone reports you to the cops or to CPS?
What does CPS and the cops do if they decide you’ve abused your kids?
Well, in both cases, unless the claims are ridiculous or obviously false, investigations will be opened by both parties. The cops will start a criminal investigation, and CPS will open a case file and investigate as well. If the cops gather enough evidence to possibly prove abuse or neglect, they will turn in their findings to the prosecutor’s office and charges will be filed against you.
If CPS investigates and decides your kids are at risk, they may petition the court to remove them, or to force you into attending classes or some type of counseling. Common solutions for CPs include parenting classes, substance abuse therapy, anger management therapy, or individual counseling services. Sometimes, in cases where poverty is obvious, CPS workers may offer other types of help, or connect families with organizations and state departments that provide food or housing.
Will CPS take your kids away from you after reports of abuse?
They might. You certainly wouldn’t be the first family to lose your children to the system because someone said something and made a mountain out of a molehill. Once CPS files the petition for removal with the family court, the court schedules a probable cause hearing where the Judge determines if your children really are at risk, and where they should stay.
If the Judge decides that you’re not a neglectful or abusive parent, chances are your children will be left in your custody. And while CPS is likely to continue investigating you, at least your family will be intact. But if the judge decides your children are at risk, your kids will be taken away and placed in foster care.
Do you as the parent have any rights during this process?
Having your children taken from you is awful! But you are not without recourse! If you disagree with the placement that CPS proposes, you may speak up in court and request that your children be placed with a specific friend or relative who has agreed to take them in.(Bear in mind, however, that the final decision is made by the court.)
Also, remember that if you suspect your children may be taken from you, you should be prepared in advance. Make sure the family member who you want to have care for your kids, is willing to become a licensed foster parent. Also, make sure they’re “in it for the long haul” just in case the situation is long term, and drags on for months, or possibly even years!
Fighting CPS is a major battle and you’ll need expert help!
If your children are removed from your custody by the state, and you choose not to accept a plea with regard to the accusations against you, the next step is a trial. This means you’ll be fighting an uphill battle against a well funded enemy. You’re going to need a LOT of help from people who know exactly what they’re doing, and have a long track record of success fighting reports of suspected abuse and neglect.
So if you or a loved one have been accused of abuse or neglect by CPS, contact our office immediately at 866 766 5245. Our experienced CPS defense attorneys have spent decades defending the families of mid-Michigan against the invasive and overzealous tactics of CPS, and we can help you too!