There are people in your child’s life that are being watchful for signs of abuse or neglect. This idea can be either comforting or unsettling to you, but Michigan’s Child Protection Law designates mandatory reporters who must report any reasonable suspicion of child abuse or neglect. If given a reason to believe a child may be experiencing abuse or neglect, they are required by law to immediately make a report to Children’s Protective Services (CPS) at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).
Mandatory reporters in Michigan include physical and occupational therapists, athletic trainers, physicians, social workers, dentists, nurses, teachers, psychologists, school counselors, law enforcement officers, school administrators, members of the clergy, and more. These professionals have this designation because they come in contact with children often in their professional duties and are in a position to recognize the signs of abuse or neglect.
When having reasonable suspicion of child abuse or neglect, mandatory reporters must report immediately to CPS at MDHHS. This may be done over the phone, but the law states that a written report must be made within 72 hours on a 3200 form.
The reporter’s identity is kept confidential and can be released only with the consent of the reporting person, judicial process, or to certain people listed under the law.
Mandatory reporters that fail to report an instance of reasonably suspected child abuse or neglect could be criminally and civilly liable, and potentially could lose their Michigan professional license. They could be charged with a misdemeanor and receive a $500 fine and up to 93 days in jail, or both. They could also be liable for damages that are the result of the failure to act.
Do not let these potential penalties worry you when determining if a report should be made. As long as your report is made in “good faith” there is immunity from civil and criminal liability. The Child Protection Law is meant to make reporting convenient and straightforward.
When experiencing a messy divorce and tough custody battle, it may be tempting to make a false report of child abuse or neglect. This is never the answer. If a report is made in “bad faith” there can be serious repercussions. Severity depends on the details of the false report, but you could face fines and jail time.
Contact Us Today
At The Kronzek Firm, keeping your family together is our top priority. Our skilled attorneys have extensive experience working with child protection laws and CPS. We know how to help parents navigate the system and will aggressively defend your rights as parents to keep your family together. If you are facing trouble with CPS, contact us today to get the legal help you need. We’re available 24/7 for crisis intervention by calling 800-576-6035.