What is Child Protective Services?
Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services is an umbrella agency that promotes health, safety and welfare of citizens within the State of Michigan. Child Protection Services (CPS) falls within DHHS and is charged with investigating child abuse or neglect after someone reprots a suspicion that a child is not safe. At the conclusion of an investigation, the protective services worker meets with the prosecutor of the county where the child resides. Here, a decision is made if there is a substantial risk of harm to the children and whether court intervention is necessary. Court action begins with the filing of a petition requiring the parents to come to court within 24 hours. A voluntary safety plan may be put in place during the investigation. At the preliminary hearing, placement of the children, parenting time and risk of harm will be discussed along with the details of the investigation and if there is probable cause to believe the children are not safe. Depending on the severity of the allegations, injuries, and risk level category a petition may seek temporary intervention with a goal of reunification or termination of parental rights.
CPS can easily get involved with your family. It is very difficult to show an investigator that something did not happen. It is very scary and the worker has a lot of power to wield to protect children. It’s crucial to understand your rights and responsibilities. With this knowledge, you will know what to do, what they can and cannot do and how to protect yourself and your children. You can also be able to tell when they overstep their authority. A Bloomfield Hills criminal defense lawyer, with a history of prosecuting and defending these cases can guide you through everything you need to know.
What is the Function of Child Protective Services?
The primary function of Child Protective Services is to protect children from harm. Forms of child neglect include the following:
- Failing to provide enough food, medical care, shelter, or clothing for the child
- Placing the child at an unreasonable risk of harm when the parent or guardian knew about the risk and could have protected the child from the harm but didn’t
Workers from CPS investigate abuse cases among parents and guardians responsible for the care of children. If the offender is not a caregiver but a significant other, like a teacher or religious leader, the police will handle the investigation. The goal of a child protective services investigation is to ensure children are safe within their homes. Contrary to criminal investigations where the goal is to punish the offender. In certain cases, both investigations occur simultaneously.
The agency aims to prevent, identify, and treat child neglect and abuse cases. Consult a Bloomfield Hills child abuse claims lawyer if you have falsely been accused of child abuse and neglect. They can investigate the claims and help you create a strong defense strategy.
What Should I Do When CPS Comes to My Home
When Child Protective Services show up at your home, it’s natural to feel scared and unsure if you should open the door. It’s essential to remain calm, cooperate and remember that most CPS visits are to make sure children are safe. Officers from CPS are not officially law enforcers, but they have the legal authority to enter your property if they suspect a child is in danger, abuse or neglect.
Three circumstances under which a CPS worker can enter your home are:
- When you consent to their visit
- In an emergency
- When the CPS is accompanied by the police who have a warrant or court order to enter a home or remove children
As a parent or guardian, you have constitutional rights when CPS comes to your home since they are a government agency. You do not have a 5th Amendment right to remain silent, but should keep in mind that even though they are not the police– the police can use anything you say against you.
The Right to Know the Charges Against You
A child protection investigation stems from allegations of abuse or neglect. The Petition is the charging document that contains the allegations. Upon a caseworker’s first contact with you, the allegations may not be known with specificity or detail. If your children are going to be removed, the law requires them to tell you in detail about the allegations/charges they have against you. Simply stating suspicion of abuse or neglect is vague and won’t suffice in this case, as more details should accompany it on who, what, where, and when.
The Right to Remain Silent
Once an investigator from CPS comes to your home, the chances are high that they already believe you’re guilty of the allegations/charges against you. Workers can seem confrontational and accusatory. It is imperative to remember that he/she is at your home to protect children and their role is not to protect your rights.
Just like with a police interrogation, you have the right to remain silent when being questioned by a CPS investigator. You can remain silent but where it cannot be used against you in a criminal proceeding, it will be used against you in a child protection proceeding. A judge can assume whatever you are not saying would hurt you and find it against you. It would be in your best interest to first talk to an experienced child abuse attorney in Bloomfield Hills. Parents often confuse the individuals entering their home and their purpose. Only submit to an investigation after consulting with an attorney. The child abuse attorneys at Kirsch Daskas have over 30 years of experience protecting parents’ rights to raise their children. Consult us now.
The same goes for your child. Under Michigan laws, CPS must have your permission to interrogate your child out of your presence. If you do not allow CPS access to your child(ren) they may conclude you have something to hide and seek a court order for removal. Ensure you have an experienced criminal defense attorney in Bloomfield Hills during the investigation.
The Right to Deny CPS Access to Your Home Unless They Have a Court Order or Signed Warrant
Only let a CPS worker into your home or allow them to take your children away if they have a signed authorization or court order. They may lie to you or even show up with a police officer, but that shouldn’t be a reason to let them into your home. The Fourth Constitutional Amendment applies in this situation, regardless of what the CPS officials say.
Letting them into your home is waiving your constitutional rights. However, don’t protest against them coming into your home, but demand that they don’t separate your children from you.
The Right to Hire an Attorney to Fight on Your Behalf
You have the right to contact an attorney to deal with the CPS on your behalf. When hiring a Bloomfield Hills child abuse lawyer, make sure you go for one who is ready to fight for you and not simply make you comply with what the CPS asks. Look for one with the experience of fighting against false child abuse claims as soon as the CPS launches an investigation against you.
A skilled Bloomfield Hills child abuse claims attorney can evaluate if your rights have been violated, help protect your rights, and ensure CPS investigators work within their limits.
Protect Your Rights in CPS Investigations with Skilled Representation
Being investigated for false child abuse and neglect claims can be frightening and scary. The consequences range from having your parental rights terminated to having your children taken away from you. You can prevent this from happening by having an experienced child abuse claims attorney in Bloomfield Hills to protect you during the investigations.
Courts take child abuse cases seriously and can result in stigma for you and your family. At our law firm, we can aggressively defend you against all child abuse and neglect allegations. We work diligently to defend our client’s rights and help their situation, and we can help you too. Contact us to schedule an initial consultation. At Kirsch Daskas Law Group, we protect what matters most.