A parent, guardian, or any person responsible for the care of a child can be reported for suspected child abuse or neglect if they are alleged to have caused or allowed harm to come to a child by willful or negligent acts. Anyone can report abuse or neglect, and some individuals are required by law to report their suspicions (these are called mandated reporters).
Under MCL 722.622, child abuse can consist of:
- Physical or mental injury
- Sexual abuse,
- Sexual exploitation, or
Neglect of a child can involve:
- Failure to provide food, shelter, clothing, or medical care;
- Failure to seek reasonable means to provide care for the child; or
- Failure to act when circumstances put the child’s health or welfare at risk and the person could have intervened.
If you have been accused of abuse and/or neglect, speak with Mr. Jocuns. He can evaluate your case and discuss courses of action.
What Happens After a Report of Abuse or Neglect Is Received?
After CPS receives a report of alleged child abuse or neglect, the agency may assign an investigator to the case. Typically, the investigation begins within 24 hours of the report being made and can take up to 30 days.
The CPS investigator is concerned with finding evidence supporting or negating the allegations. Specifically, they attempt to determine whether the child has been harmed or threatened harm and is at risk of any future harm.
The evidence-gathering process involves many steps, including:
- Interviewing the child and the alleged actor
- Evaluating the home
- Speaking with anyone who knows or has interacted with the child and the alleged actor
- Reviewing police reports, medical reports, and other relevant records
- Recording injuries to the child (if any) and possible explanations for them
After the investigation, the CPS investigator will place the case into one of five categories, depending on what the evidence reveals.
The ways an abuse or neglect case could be categorized are as follows:
- Category V: No evidence of abuse or neglect
- Category IV: Evidence does not point to abuse, but the family may need assistance voluntarily completing community-based services
- Category III: Evidence suggests a low or moderate risk of abuse or neglect, and the family is referred to community-based services
- Category II: Evidence suggests a high or intensive risk of abuse or neglect, and the family needs CPS and community-based services
- Category I: Evidence suggests that the level of abuse or neglect is so severe a court order is needed to take further action, and the family needs CPS and community-based services
If CPS believes by a preponderance of the evidence that the child’s health and welfare are at risk, the agency will file a petition with the court requesting an order for specific actions.
The petition could ask that:
- The family be required to participate in CPS services,
- The alleged actor be removed from the home,
- The child be removed from the home, and/or
- The parental rights be terminated.
The court may grant the petition and issue a summons for the alleged actor to appear in court for a hearing. At an adjudication hearing (or trial), the court is concerned with whether the child should come under the jurisdiction of the court and what remedy is needed to rectify the situation.
If the allegations of abuse or neglect are not proven, the case will end. However, if they are confirmed, the court will hold a dispositional hearing to determine what’s needed to protect the child and help the parent address behaviors that led to the accusations.
Depending on what happens in the case, the parent may also be required to attend a permanency planning hearing. This hearing occurs if the child has been removed from the home and parental rights have not been terminated. The judge will review the case to review the parent's steps to remedy issues. The parent can also present arguments for why their child should not be permanently taken from them.
The court may also hold a parental rights termination hearing to determine whether such action is in the child’s best interests.
During this emotionally challenging time, going through the investigation phase or hearings in a child protective matter can be daunting, overwhelming, and stressful. You do not have to handle your case alone. You have the right to an attorney.
Lapeer County Child Protective Services defense lawyer Bernard Jocuns is ready to stand by your side throughout your case. He will provide compassionate guidance, helping you understand your rights and what to expect. He will also aggressively fight for you at any hearings, working to keep your family intact.
Contact Bernard Anthony Jocuns & Associates Today
Child protective proceedings are complicated, and one misstep can have an impact on your entire family. Rather than trying to take on the complexities of your case alone, reach out to Mr. Jocuns. He will be your advocate, protecting your best interests and ensuring that your side of the story is heard.
Discuss your case with Lapeer County Child Protective Services defense attorney Bernard Jocuns by contacting him at (810) 255-4033.
“I felt very confident with him representing me in court and he ultimately helped me win back not only my reputation, but also my freedom. I owe this man my life. Thank you, Bernard Jocuns.”- Jordan F.
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“Mr. Jocuns is truly a blessing.. This is the guy that will get the job done... feels good having him by ur side.- Pheng L.
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