CPS Lawyers in Michigan: Blank Law, PC
Crimes against children include all forms of violence and abuse against minors below 18. These criminal offenses are usually committed by parents, caregivers, teachers, and strangers. It is estimated that 3.6 million child abuse cases are reported in the U.S. annually.
What is Child Abuse?
Child abuse describes any harm done to a child through emotional, sexual, or physical abuse or neglect. In Michigan, there are four degrees of child abuse, which are:
The effects of child abuse are long-lasting and devastating, and about five children die daily as a result. It also affects children’s health, growth and development, and overall well-being. Child abuse harms future generations as well. Children who experience violence are more likely to drop out of school, struggle with finding or keeping a job, and have trouble maintaining stable relationships or families.
The criminal justice system seeks to protect children and Michigan families by establishing laws and organizations working to promote the child’s best interest. Mandatory reporting laws require those who suspect child abuse or neglect to report it to law enforcement authorities. These reports may be done via the Child Welfare Information Gateway created by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services or the 24-hour CPS hotline.
Child Protective Services (CPS) may be involved once such reports are made. In some cases, parents and caregivers could be arrested and charged with a criminal case. The child may also be removed from the house if there is a threat to the child’s welfare or safety.
You need legal representation if you have been arrested for child abuse or neglect. Be sure to hire a criminal defense attorney with experience in handling CPS cases. You risk severe punishment or losing your parental rights if you do not respond promptly and effectively.
CPS Lawyers in Michigan
Child Protective Services may be involved in suspected child neglect or abuse cases in Michigan. They are a government agency designed to keep families together if it is in the child’s best interest. Their primary commitment is to the child’s welfare, so it is their responsibility to keep children safe from neglect or abuse.
You must know your rights and duties if you are involved in a CPS case. The outcome can significantly impact your life and family. Therefore, you should contact a CPS defense attorney if you or your family member is accused of abusing or neglecting a child.
Experienced defense attorneys can guide you in dealing with CPS and advise you on the scope of their responsibilities. By selecting the right lawyer, you can defend yourself against criminal charges and even get your children back if they have been removed from the house. Learn what to look for in a criminal defense lawyer here.
Blank Law, PC is a top law firm in Michigan providing legal services to people dealing with CPS in a child abuse case. Nicole Blank Becker is a top child abuse defense attorney with a unique experience as a former chief of the Child Abuse Unit of Macomb County. She is available and willing to work with you in your CPS case. Submit this online form to schedule a Michigan criminal defense attorney free consultation.
What is a CPS Investigation?
CPS is informed about suspected cases of child abuse or neglect from people who can report incidents of these crimes (see: reasons child protective services can be called here). A caseworker may be assigned to gather information to assist the agency in determining the child’s safety. This process is called a CPS investigation, and the case worker may be referred to as a CPS investigator.
A CPS investigation is similar to a police investigation, and some cases may warrant both a police investigation and a CPS investigation. A CPS investigation often lasts 30 days, and starts within 24 hours of a reported child abuse incident. The CPS investigator collects relevant information about the case by:
- Conducting a physical, medical, or psychological examination on the child
- Inspecting your house
- Interviewing the people around you, like your neighbors, teachers, doctors, or relatives
- Obtaining copies of police reports, medical records, and school records
Undergoing an investigation can be scary and intrusive, and many people often feel powerless in such situations. However, there are some things you can do during an ongoing investigation to convince the agency that the allegations against you are unfounded.
The first and most crucial step is to hire a CPS defense lawyer. You need a lawyer even if you have been falsely accused of abusing or neglecting a child under your care or supervision. Hiring the right attorney can substantially increase your chances of winning the CPS case.
Also, there are practical things you could do if there is a chance that the CPS would find some degree of evidence supporting the allegations against you. You can take positive actions to reduce the risk of being considered a danger to your child’s welfare. Examples of such actions include:
- Cleaning your house to make it tidier
- Getting rid of alcohol or drugs in your house
- Stocking the fridge with sufficient food
The goal is to present yourself to CPS employees as a person who is capable of adequately taking care of a child. By creating the correct perception, you can convince the CPS worker assigned to you to conclude the investigation in your favor.
Can I Refuse to Speak with CPS Workers?
You do not have to respond if a CPS worker calls you or appears at your house if you do not want to. You have a constitutional right to remain silent and CPS cannot force you to talk (learn more about what happens if you refuse to speak with a detective).
However, your cooperation is necessary if you want to win. If you remain silent or are uncooperative with CPS workers, they might suspect that you are hiding something or even more to blame than the facts show. So you do not help your case if you choose to be silent.
This is unlike a court situation where defendants can choose to be silent without it being detrimental to their cases. Courts deal with facts and evidence, while CPS relies heavily on the perception of the caseworkers. Therefore, you need to show maximum cooperation to positively influence their perception of you.
Be honest and direct during the investigation and provide relevant information when asked. Do not lie or fabricate false stories. You would be adversely affected if the truth came out. However, ensure that you have an attorney present during an interaction or investigation with a CPS employee. Your attorney will protect your legal rights and ensure your best outcome.
Blank Law, PC is a law firm dedicated to providing legal counsel to those accused of child abuse or neglect in Detroit, Grand Rapids, and around Michigan’s lower peninsula. Our services include defending parents involved in CPS cases, working with them to prevent the termination of their parental rights, and getting their children back if they have been taken away. Contact us to schedule a free consultation.
Does CPS Interview Children?
Generally, CPS interviews children in potential neglect or child abuse cases unless the child is too young to understand or respond to their questions. So, if you are being investigated for child abuse, expect CPS to interview your child once they get involved. You cannot prevent them from interviewing your child.
The interview may happen in your home, at the child’s school, or a CPS office. The caseworker requires your permission for the interview to take place in your home or at the child’s school if you are present. If you refuse to grant permission, the caseworker can interview in any private place where the child feels safe. You may not be allowed to participate or even listen in.
The interviewer may ask the child about the alleged event or events, or if there was ever an occurrence of any child abuse incident. The questions may also revolve around their sense of safety in the home or around you, or if the child believes future neglect or abuse would occur.
Some people try to coach and prepare their children before a CPS interview. However, this approach is dangerous because CPS workers are trained to recognize signs of coaching. Do not ask your child to lie or make up a story either, because there is a high chance that CPS would notice. You damage your chances of a favorable outcome when you take this approach.
CPS may conduct oral, medical, physical, or psychological examinations on your children if the investigator believes it is necessary. Suppose the caseworker cannot get your permission; in that case, they may obtain a court order which authorizes them to conduct such examinations. Suppose it is a case of suspected child sexual abuse. In that case, the examination may be conducted by personnel other than the investigator, such as a doctor, nurse, or special interviewer.
Getting My Child Back in a CPS Case
Once the CPS has concluded its investigation, they may remove your child from your house if they find the allegations against you true. Their first option is to place the child with your spouse or family member. The second option is to place the child in a foster family.
Then, a court hearing is scheduled within 14 days to prove whether abuse or neglect occurred. If you can prove that you are innocent of the charges, you will be able to get your child back; if not, additional hearings would be scheduled and the child would remain in CPS custody for a longer time.
You should hire a CPS defense lawyer if you want to get your child back. It would help if you had legal counsel for a solid defense strategy and an understanding of the way CPS works. So, it would be best if you acted promptly to increase your chances of getting your child back as soon as possible.
How Blank Law, PC Can Help in a CPS Case
Attorney Nicole Blank Becker is a Michigan criminal defense lawyer with years of experience with legal matters concerning child abuse in Detroit, Grand Rapids, and all around Michigan’s lower peninsula. Nicole is willing to assist and defend you if you or your family member is involved in an ongoing investigation with CPS.
Once you create an attorney-client relationship with us at Blank Law, PC, we will work with you to develop a solid defense in your CPS case. We will also guide you through the investigation and provide legal representation where necessary to ensure the best outcome in your case. Reach out to us for a free consultation today.