Having just discussed Munchausen by Proxy and how doctors and hospital officials can sometimes use this as a tool to manipulate and control parents who aren’t compliant. In other words, if a parent doesn’t agree with a doctor’s diagnosis or assessment, they may choose to seek out another medical opinion.
However, some doctors, in order to avoid looking bad or having their advice questioned, may choose to report the parents in question to CPS. The reasons they provide are that that the parents are either neglecting their child’s medical needs, or intentionally harming their child by wanting unnecessary medical procedures for them. Either way, it results in CPS stepping in and invariably taking over.
Mandatory reporting makes sense when it comes to protecting children in situations where adults do not “want to get involved” or believe that the situation “isn’t their business”. However, when it’s used as a way to harm non-compliant parents, it becomes a form of abuse in it’s own right. As we mentioned before, every medical malpractice defense attorney knows that the best way to avoid a malpractice lawsuit is to change the focus away from the child and the doctors, and to place it on the parents.
Doctors are able to hide behind the legal system, because Michigan law is clear about mandatory reporting. For starters, the law states that physicians, social workers, dentists, nurses, teachers, psychologists, school counselors, law enforcement officers, school administrators, day care providers and even members of the clergy are all mandatory reporters. This is because all of these people come into regular contact with children and have opportunities to observe them for signs of abuse or neglect.
State law is very clear about who is a mandatory reporter in Michigan.
According to the law states, a mandatory reporter is required to notify CPS, or the police, if they have “reasonable cause to suspect” that child abuse or neglect is occurring, or has occurred in the past.” In addition, there are consequences to failing to report when obligated to do so by law. For example, if it was discovered that an instance of abuse or neglect took place and someone who was designated as a mandatory reporter knew about it and failed to report it, they could face criminal charges.
Doctors sometimes use this as a shield for reporting parents that they know are innocent, but have disagreed with medical recommendations. This is not the same thing as patient profiling, which happens when a doctor makes assumptions about a patient based on their race, gender, financial status, and numerous other factors. However, patient profiling has been known to lead to assumptions about the type of parent you are, and even unsubstantiated reports to CPS based on those false assumptions.
Parents who are concerned about their role in this need not worry. Under Michigan law, parents are not considered to be mandatory reporters. Non-mandatory reporters are people who MAY report to CPS if they have “reasonable cause to suspect” that child abuse or neglect is currently occurring or has occurred in the past. These “non-mandatory reporters” can be anyone, including a friend, neighbor, or relative of the child.
If you or a member of your family has been reported to CPS by a doctor or other hospital staff, contact us immediately at 866 766 5245. We have spent decades battling false allegations of abuse made by doctors who are more interested in covering their own butts, than caring for children. We can help to protect your rights and defend your family. So don’t wait, or hope that they will figure out that this was a false alarm. Contact us immediately. Our skilled child abuse defense attorneys are here to help.