Michigan Child Protective Services (CPS) is tasked with investigating cases of child neglect and abuse. Many times, the program can help children in unsafe situations, but there are some times when a vindictive ex-partner or frustrated in-laws may call CPS on a parent whose children are perfectly safe. Knowing your rights when it comes to interacting with CPS agents, including when and whether you need a Michigan family law attorney, can help keep your family intact and your children with you where they belong.
Can CPS Agents Interview My Child?
Yes, if a CPS agent determines they must talk to your children without advance notice, they may do so. They could show up at your child’s school and ask to talk to your child; the school usually has to cooperate. CPS must notify you after they interview your child, but not before.
However, if the child is in your presence, then a CPS caseworker cannot ask them questions without your permission. This can get murky – CPS may determine that they have to interview your child immediately, and so will try to gain access to them when you’re not around.
Does Michigan CPS Take Anonymous Complaints?
Yes, anyone can report a suspicion of abuse or neglect, even another child. CPS may launch an investigation if:
- The alleged victim is a minor (under 18 years of age)
- The alleged perpetrator is someone responsible for the alleged victim’s well-being
- The allegations meet the minimum standards for neglect or abuse
What Are My Rights Regarding CPS in Michigan?
You still have civil rights and liberties even when CPS is standing outside your door. A Michigan family law attorney can help protect them and you.
There are a few things you need to know about what CPS can and cannot do:
- The caseworker must tell you, in specific detail, about the charges they’re investigating. You have the right to know specific details, not just “allegations of abuse” or “suspected neglect.”
- You don’t have to answer any questions. You also have the right to demand a lawyer be present during any interview.
- A caseworker can only enter your home if you invite them in or if they present a court order or signed warrant.
- You can record every interaction with CPS. Michigan is a single-party recording state, which means that only one party being recorded must consent to the recording. So, turn on your camera or an audio recording app.
Finally, you have the right to a lawyer. From the initial contact with CPS, you can better protect yourself with legal representation. A family law attorney who knows what CPS can and cannot do and who knows how to counteract the allegations laid against you can help you keep your family intact and avoid criminal charges.
Do You Need Help With a CPS Case?
Are you concerned about an upcoming CPS visit? Are you worried that an innocent mistake or unlucky accident has been misconstrued as child abuse or neglect? We’re here to help you and your family. Contact The Law Office of Jodi L. Hemingway, PLLC, today.