Thank you for joining us for the final installment in this series on child abuse in Michigan. Thus far we have discussed the different types of abuse, and how they are penalized. In this last segment we would like to talk to you about how CPS plays a role in many of these cases, and how the involvement of Children’s Protective Services (CPS) can drastically change a case.
There are a number of charges a person can face when accused of intentionally or accidentally harming a child in Michigan. Even cases where the child came to no actual harm, but could have been hurt if the circumstances had been different, can result in child abuse charges. Some of these charges are criminal charges and can result in the defendant spending some time in either jail or prison if convicted. But some of the cases, charges, called “a petition” are brought by Children’s Protective Services, and are filed in Family Court.
Child Abuse and Child Neglect Cases:
In Michigan, an Abuse and Neglect case can be handled criminally, which is what happens when the investigation was conducted by the police, or civilly. In a civil case, the investigation is handled by a Children’s Protective Services worker, and usually goes through the family court. Is is somewhat common to have both a criminal case and a CPS case filed at the very same time.
In this instance, if the CPS worker believes that child abuse or neglect occurred, a petition is filed with the court by CPS. This begins the process by which CPS can ask the family court to require that a parent participate in parenting or substance abuse classes in order to keep their own child. Or, in situations believed to be more severe, Children’s Protective Services might seek to terminate parental rights, which would mean that the parent in question loses all their legal right to their child forever. (Losing parental rights does not automatically mean that you no longer have to pay to support that child.)
Having an abuse and neglect petition filed against you in family court can result in your children being removed from your care, either temporarily or permanently. It can also result in you being required to participate in “services” and attend certain classes that CPS believes will address issues that affect your ability to parent safely. This petition may or may not happen at the same time as a criminal case against you for child abuse.
Termination of Parental Rights:
Termination of Parental Rights refers to a petition filed in the family court by Children’s Protective Services, that seeks to terminate a parent’s rights to their own child. This means that, if the court chooses to terminate that parent’s rights, they will no longer have any access to their child. In the eyes of the law they will no longer be that child’s parent, and can no longer have any contact with that child or play any role in their upbringing. It is a permanent, and irreversible decision that completely severs a parent’s relationship with their child. The only possible fix is in the appellate courts, or after the child turns 18 years old.
How CPS cases affect criminal cases:
CPS workers are not required to follow the same procedural rules as police officers when gathering evidence and interviewing people. This means that they can and do threaten people if they don’t cooperate. Commonly, they twist and frightened parents during interviews, and misrepresent their own intentions when entering people’s homes. They frequently attempt to pit one parent against the other parent. As if this isn’t bad enough, the police are allowed to use evidence gathered by CPS workers, which amounts to allowing evidence that the police might not have gathered by themselves.
Child Abuse Defense Attorneys:
At The Kronzek Firm we are dedicated parent advocates and have spent decades working tirelessly to keep families together. We know only too well how quickly an accidental injury can turn into an accusation of abuse, or an undiagnosed medical condition can lead to allegations of neglect. We also know how CPS operates, and the many ways that caseworkers will misrepresent the facts in order to support their own theories.
At The Kronzek Firm, our highly skilled and experienced defense attorneys are passionate and effective parent advocates. We can represent you aggressively, whether your case is being handled as a criminal case or in family court, and fight on your behalf to defend your family’s future. Call 866 766 5245 immediately. We are here to help you protect you and your loved ones!