Should CPS Check on Every Child When Investigating Alleged Child Abuse?

September 3, 2019 Abuse and Neglect Attorney
Close up of a stop watch, with the second hand closing in on the last moment, which is labelled deadline!
A piece of proposed legislation here in Michigan suggests that CPS workers should check on the welfare of every child in a home when there are allegations involving one.

The current law on how child abuse and neglect, and suspected child abuse and neglect are dealt with, is very clear. Any type of abuse or neglect of a child (including exposure to drugs or methamphetamines) must be reported to the police. And within 24 hours of that report, they’re required to reach out to CPS and pass on the report. But nowhere in the law does it say that law enforcement or CPS is required to check on each and every child in the home where there is alleged abuse or neglect happening. 

House Representative Matt Hall wants to change that.

House Bill 4705, which was introduced by House Rep Matt Hall, would make small but significant changes to Michigan’s current law about how child abuse allegations are handled right after the first report is made. If this bill gets signed into law, within 24 hours of authorities receiving a report of suspected child abuse or neglect, contact would have to be made with the family, so that the wellbeing of every single child living in that home could be assessed.

All the children have to be checked on before the investigation can start.

Also, HB 4706 would change the way Category 3 cases are handled by CPS workers. All CPS cases are divided into five categories, with the first category being the most serious where severe abuse or neglect is evident, to category five cases where there is no evidence of neglect and the case is considered to be unsubstantiated. Category three, however, is considered to be “potentially ambiguous”, and can be harder to pin down.

Category three cases would get more follow-up under the new laws.

Category three cases are described as having “met a preponderance of the evidence that neglect or abuse exists, but at a low to moderate risk level.” In most of these situations, CPS then makes a referral for community-based services to help the family and often doesn’t remove the children from the home. HB 4706 lays out a more rigorous assessment for category three cases and specifies certain follow-up standards to ensure that potentially dangerous situations don’t slip through the cracks.

It makes sense, but it also gives CPS more leeway…

We understand where this is coming from, and what Rep. Hall is trying to do. If there’s an allegation about possible abuse, it makes sense to ensure that all children in that home are safe. And if there’s some evidence of possible child abuse, but not enough for a CPS worker to justify taking the kids away, then specific follow up practices may help eliminate some of that ambiguity. But in all honesty, this just sounds like more handholds for CPS workers, giving them more access to families and their private lives, which is never a good thing!

The less access CPS has to your family, the better!

Battling CPS is often a long, frightening and confusing process. Going up against the state can be extremely intimidating, as it’s a formidable foe with many resources, and an army of people working against you. If CPS has made contact with you about your kids’ safety or your parenting practices, you need to call us immediately at 866 766 5245, and speak with one of our aggressive and experienced child abuse defense attorneys. We can help you understand your case, and find the best way to protect your parental and constitutional rights.