If you follow our blog, then you already know that a “mandated reporter” in Michigan is someone who is required by law to report suspected child abuse to the proper authorities. In fact, if it comes to light in an investigation that someone who is a mandated reporter knew about, or even suspect that a child is being abused or neglected, and they did nothing about it, they could face criminal charges!
But once a family, parent or caregiver has been reported to the state for possible abuse or neglect, CPS is likely to tear their family apart, harass them repeatedly, and even make false accusations. It’s a very delicate balance to achieve between protecting children from possible abuse, and protecting their families from a CPS inquisition.
Who are mandated reporters, and how do they report their suspicions?
Mandated reporters are designated that way because of the jobs they do, and the roles they play in society. They include anyone whose position brings them into regular contact with children, and provides them with potential opportunities to witness signs of abuse and neglect. Examples of mandated reporters in Michigan include:
Doctors, nurses, dentists, teachers, principles, police officers, priests, coaches, daycare providers, counsellors, therapists, and social workers.
Until recently, if a mandated reporter wanted to make a report of suspected abuse or neglect, they were required to call the police, or CPS and make a verbal report over the phone, or show up in person at MDHHS or a police station to make the report. They were then required to follow up on the verbal report made, which was a rather tedious process. Now however, Michigan is offering mandated reporters a new, easier and faster way to make their reports.
Mandated reporters can now make reports online.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services recently launched the Michigan Online Reporting System, which is exclusively for use by mandated reporters in the state of Michigan. If you are a mandated reporter, and you believe that a child is being abused or neglected, you are required by law to make a report of your “reasonable suspicions”, and can do so here: Online Reporting Resources.
This online option hasn’t replaced the toll free hotline, though. Mandated reporters can still make reports of suspected child abuse and neglect 24 hours a day, seven days a week at (855) 444-3911 if they believe the situation warrants it.
Is making it faster and easier ultimately a good thing?
One of the questions that’s come up since the MDHHS introduced the new system, is whether or not it’s actually better to make the process so easy. While it certainly makes it more convenient for those who have to make the reports, could streamlining the process so much result in off-the-cuff reports, made without too much thought, simply because it’s quick and easy to do so?
It’s a good question, and one that we’ll only be able to answer when enough time has passed and the data can be assessed. Will this easy-to-use system mean an increase in reports, or will nothing change the number of families investigated for abuse and neglect? Will more mandated reporters report suspicions that they might have waited on earlier, simply because they can do it in a few moments? Only time will tell…
If someone reports you for suspected abuse, get help immediately!
Being accused of abusing or neglecting a child is awful, but the effect it can have on your family, even if you’re completely innocent, is appalling! At The Kronzek Firm, our experienced child abuse and neglect defense attorneys have spent decades helping families from all over Michigan deal with allegation of abuse and neglect.
We understand how challenging these accusations can be, and we know what it takes to fight them. So if you or a loved one has been accused of harming or neglecting a child by a mandated reporter, and the police or CPS has started harassing you, call 866 766 5245 and get the help you need today.