Here in Michigan, when a mandated reporter, or even just a concerned citizen suspects that a child might be the victim of abuse or neglect, they call CPS and make a report. At that point, a CPS worker reaches out to the family, either by phone or in person (depending on the severity of the suspected abuse), and opens an investigation.
But what does that mean? What do they do with their findings, and how does that affect the family being investigated? And most importantly, can you challenge the claims CPS makes about you and clear your name?
What does CPS do with the results of their investigations?
CPS divides their ‘findings’ into five categories. This starts with Category 5, where there is no evidence to support any evidence of abuse or neglect, all the way up to Category 1, in which children are found to be victims of severe abuse or neglect, and are usually removed from their homes for fear of future harm.
What we would like to talk to you about, however, is those lower categories in between – specifically category 4, where a CPS worker feels that the parents maybe aren’t doing everything they could, or the family needs some help, but the children’s well being is not at imminent risk.
What is CPS ‘Category 4’ and what does it mean?
According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services website, Category 4 is defined as “Cases in which a preponderance of evidence of child abuse or neglect is not found. The department must assist the child’s family in voluntarily participating in community-based services commensurate with risk level determined by the risk assessment.” (which is a structured decision making tool used by CPS workers).
In other words, you’re not technically abusing or neglecting your kids, but CPS doesn’t think you’re doing a good enough job. So they’re going to tell you you need to go to parenting classes, or therapy, or something of a similar nature. And when they say ‘voluntary’ what they probably mean is ‘court-ordered‘.
Why do you need to challenge these findings?
Despite the fact that a Category 4 means CPS couldn’t find enough evidence to accuse you of being neglectful or abusive, they’re still going to categorize their findings. And you’re still going to be labelled by the agency, and they’ll keep a file on you and all of their suspicions about your “possibly abusive” parenting. Which means you’ll have a ‘history’ with CPS.
Here at The Kronzek Firm, our skilled CPS defense attorneys help families defend themselves against allegations of abuse and neglect. We fight to clear your name completely, and keep the agency from trying to control you and tell you how to parent your kids. If CPS reaches out to you for any reason, call 866 766 5245 today and protect your parenting rights!