Child Neglect Allegations
Michigan rigorously works to eradicate and prosecute mistreatment of children. Unfortunately, this can sometimes means falsely accusing parents who are actually innocent of child abuse or child neglect. A CPS (Children’s Protective Services) case right here in Oakland County will radically change your life for the worst.
Even if you are ultimately cleared of child neglect or child abuse allegations, going through the process can bring a lot of stress and harm to a family. These cases leave scars on the family that won’t soon be forgotten. If you believe you may face a CPS investigation, contact us right away! We have helped countless families throughout Oakland, Macomb, Washtenaw, Livingston, and Lapeer counties and throughout the lower peninsula in Michigan.
Neglect Allegations During Divorce
One of the most devastating issues that can rear it’s ugly head during a divorce or even after a divorce, is a false allegation of child neglect. We’ve seen cases of one parent encouraging the child to accuse the other parent of abuse or neglect.
All children should be treated with dignity, but a false allegation is really a form of abuse in itself. You will need an experienced attorney to protect you from false accusations. Our Oakland County judges see these allegations almost daily, including some that are true and others than are simply fabrications.
Mandatory Reporting: Actual or Suspected Child Neglect
Although anyone can report suspected child abuse or neglect to CPS, there are certain adults who are legally declared “mandatory reporters” by Michigan statute. Nurses, doctors, teachers, police, counselors, child care administrators, emergency responders and many others are on the list of mandatory reporters.
These mandatory reporters must report to CPS when they have a reasonable suspicion that someone has created “harm or threated harm to a child’s welfare.” There are two general scenarios where harm may arise: (1) where a child has been neglected in some form (such as through failing to receive adequate food, clothing, education, shelter, or medical care); or (2) where a child’s health or welfare has been placed at an unreasonable risk and the person responsible for the child fails to remove that risk.
Trends in Child Protective Laws
One of the latest trends in child protection has been investigating potential neglect or abuse from non-parent adults. Most child neglect cases still involve the parents of the child.
But more and more cases are involving adults who are in close contact with the child or who live with the child, but who aren’t the actual parents. Due to this trend, Child Protective Laws now go further to protect children against neglect and abuse by these non-parent adults.
Michigan statute defines non-parent adults as adults who:
1) have significant and routine contact with the child;
2) have a close personal relationship with the child’s parents or with a person who takes care of the child; and
3) is not the child’s parent or relative.
Because of these additions, Child Protective Laws now affect a wider range of individuals. Our CPS defense teams sees the majority of these allegations pointing the finger at step parents.
Take Proper Precautions
If you are facing and investigation or allegations of child abuse or child neglect here in Michigan, you must take the proper precautions to protect yourself and to protect your family. These are some tips that we usually suggest to people in your situation:
- Get help right away. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Parents and non-parent adults (step parents) often believe that simply cooperating with the appropriate authorities – CPS investigators or police – will help them avoid punishment. They somehow think that the truth will prevail. That’s often the exact wrong thought process. Unfortunately, CPS workers aren’t in the business of keeping families together. As soon as you know or suspect a child abuse/neglect investigation is underway, you should quit talking right away and contact a qualified family law attorney. This will be the best move in protecting your family. The best attorneys for this unfortunate situation are those that have experience with defending parents against false allegations.
- Similarly, don’t talk to any police or a CPS investigator until you have involved your CPS defense lawyer. If police or CPS are investigating you, this is very serious. That means that you should take it very seriously. You should not risk potentially incriminating yourself, because anything you say to them can later be used against you. What you say to them is often twisted up or inaccurately written down. (CPS does not have to advise you of your Miranda rights.) It’s in your best interest to involve an attorney straight away. Bottom line is to shut up and lawyer up.
- If CPS goes to your child’s school to interview him/her, contact your CPS defense attorney right away. Particularly in Oakland, Macomb, Lapeer and Livingston counties, CPS investigators go to the child’s school without the parent even knowing until after the fact. Yes, that’s legal. Many attorneys are intimidated by CPS investigators and won’t aggressively advocate for the parents. At The Kronzek Firm PLC, we are not afraid to passionately protect you and your family. We’re in that business. We do it every day and we’re good at it. Just read our online reviews to see how we’ve help families all over Metro Detroit stay together.
Call us right away if you are facing a child abuse/neglect investigation, particularly if you live in Lapeer, Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw, Livingston or Wayne counties. We are available during and after business hours to help your through this difficult time. For 24/7 emergencies, call us at (248)-479-6200. Our office is conveniently located at 30300 Northwestern Highway in Farmington Hills. Office hours are by appointment only.