Labre Law Office | Family Law & Criminal Defense Lawyer | Edwardsburg, MI

Child Protective Proceedings

Our Child Protective Proceedings Team at LaBre Law Office Will Represent You in All Facets of Your Child Support Case in Michigan or Indiana.

Do You Need Assistance from a Child Protective Proceedings Attorney in Michigan

If you’re facing a child protective proceeding involving Child Protective Services (CPS) in Michigan, it can feel like your world is spinning out of control. These situations often come with high emotions, stress, and uncertainty. However, you’re not alone. A child protective proceedings attorney can be an invaluable ally during this challenging time.

Child protective proceedings typically begin when allegations of child abuse or neglect surface or if there’s a belief that a child is in imminent danger. These situations can arise from various circumstances, including reports from teachers, neighbors, doctors, or family members.

Having a child protective proceedings attorney by your side is crucial for several reasons:

  • Legal Guidance: The legal system can be complex and intimidating. An attorney can help you understand the process, your rights, and your options.
  • Negotiating with the Court: Your attorney can communicate with the court on your behalf, advocate for your interests, and work in the interests of you and your child.
  • Addressing Unique Needs: Every case is unique. A child protective proceedings attorney can tailor their approach to fit your situation and address your concerns and needs.

You may be risking disastrous scenarios if you do not have an experienced attorney under these circumstances. In some cases, children may be removed from their homes. Your parental rights could even be terminated if you do not have an experienced legal advocate on your side.

A child protective proceedings attorney can make a significant difference in your case, providing the support and representation you need to navigate this challenging situation while working toward a safe and secure future for you and your child. Call LaBre Law Office today to schedule a consultation.

Categories of Abuse or Neglect and Circumstances that May Involve Child Protective Proceedings

Common situations in Michigan that may involve child protective proceedings include:

  • Abuse or Neglect by a Parent: A situation where a child’s safety or well-being is at risk because of a parent’s actions or lack of action.
  • Physical Abuse: Instances of intentional harm or injury inflicted on a child by a parent or caregiver may initiate a call for child protective proceedings. Examples can include hitting, shaking, burning, or other forms of physical harm.
  • Emotional Abuse: A scenario involving ongoing emotional harm caused by a parent or caregiver, such as constant criticism, humiliation, or rejection, can negatively impact a child’s self-esteem and emotional well-being.
  • Sexual Abuse: This includes any sexual activity between an adult and a child. It’s not limited to physical contact and can also involve exposing a child to explicit materials or behaviors.
  • Substance Abuse: If a parent’s drug or alcohol use impairs their ability to care for their child, it may lead to child protective proceedings. Substance abuse can lead to neglect or abuse, endangering the child’s safety and well-being.
  • Domestic Violence: Exposure to domestic violence — whether the child is the direct victim or a witness to violence against others in the home — can be extremely harmful. In such cases, the court may step in to protect the child.
  • Medical Neglect: A situation where a parent fails to provide necessary medical care for their child, ignores a child’s symptoms of illness, or refuses to follow medical advice, leading to harm or risk of harm to the child.
  • Failure to Thrive: If a child’s basic needs for adequate food, shelter, or medical care are not being met, leading to negative impacts on the child’s health or growth, this could trigger child protective proceedings.
  • Educational Neglect: Scenarios in which a parent fails to ensure their child receives an appropriate education. This could include chronic truancy, failure to enroll a child in school, or refusing to address special educational needs.
  • Neglectful Supervision: This refers to situations where a child is left alone without suitable care or supervision, putting them at risk of harm.

Each of these situations can be highly complex and emotionally charged. An experienced child protective proceedings attorney can provide guidance, support, and representation to help you navigate these challenging circumstances.

The Purposes of Child Protective Services (CPS)

Child Protective Services (CPS) in Michigan is a program within the Department of Health and Human Services whose primary purpose is to protect children from abuse and neglect. CPS investigates allegations of child maltreatment, determines whether child abuse or neglect has occurred, and intervenes to ensure a safe environment for the child.

Working with a child protective proceedings attorney can be highly beneficial when someone is involved in a legal case related to child protection. These attorneys understand the intricacies of the CPS system, making them well-equipped to guide individuals through these often complex and emotionally exhaustive situations.

If CPS receives a report of suspected child abuse or neglect, they will initiate an investigation. If the agency believes the child’s safety is at risk, it may start legal proceedings to protect the child. This effort could involve the court ordering services for the family, placing the child in foster care, or even terminating parental rights in severe cases.

A child protective proceedings attorney can help you navigate this process, advocating for your rights and interests. They can assist with understanding and responding to allegations, representing the client in court, and negotiating with CPS and the court for the interests of your family.

It’s important to remember that the goal of CPS and the court is to ensure the child’s safety and well-being. If you are the parent or guardian, a skilled CPS attorney in Michigan can help you understand your rights, work towards resolving issues identified by CPS, and ultimately strive to keep your family together whenever it’s safe and appropriate.

Unfortunately, Some Spouses, Ex-Spouses, or Other Individuals Use CPS as a Weapon

Though it is unfortunate, we must acknowledge that there are instances where individuals misuse the Child Protective Services (CPS) system in an attempt to gain an advantage in divorce or custody disputes — or to cause harm to another person out of spite or ill will. This is not only an abuse of the system but can also cause significant stress and damage to the wrongfully accused individuals. If you are experiencing this now, it can be conducive for your peace of mind if you know what to expect.

When CPS receives a report, they are legally obligated to investigate, regardless of the source of the complaint. Their primary concern is the welfare of the child, so they take every report seriously. They will conduct an assessment, typically involving interviewing the child, parents, and any other relevant individuals and reviewing any available evidence.

If you find yourself on the receiving end of CPS false allegations, it’s critical to engage the services of an experienced Michigan child protective proceedings and family law attorney immediately to help you navigate the CPS investigation timeline, ensure your rights are protected, and work to demonstrate the truth of the situation. An experienced attorney can guide you on how to cooperate fully with the investigation while protecting your rights and working to gather and present evidence to refute false claims, mitigating the impact of the allegations on your family and your case.

The goal of CPS is to protect children, not to be used as a weapon in personal disputes. False reporting harms the individuals involved and diverts resources away from children who genuinely need help. It’s essential to approach these situations with the appropriate seriousness. Contact our experienced legal team at LaBre Law Office if you have any questions.

Your Rights Concerning Child Protective Proceedings in Michigan

You have crucial rights and responsibilities if you are engaged in child protective proceedings:

  1. Right to an Attorney: You have the right to be represented by an attorney in all stages of child protective proceedings. If you cannot afford one, the court can appoint one for you.
  2. Right to Be Informed: You have the right to be informed about the allegations against you, the process of the investigation, and any subsequent proceedings.
  3. Right to Present Evidence: You have the right to present evidence and witnesses on your behalf during the proceedings.
  4. Right to Appeal: If you disagree with the findings or decisions made by CPS or the court, you have the right to appeal.

Your Responsibilities Concerning Child Protective Proceedings in Michigan:

  1. Cooperate with the Investigation: While it’s a stressful time, it’s important to cooperate fully with the CPS investigation. This includes providing access to your home, participating in interviews, and following directives from CPS or the court.
  2. Ensure Child Safety: Your primary responsibility is to ensure the safety and well-being of your child. This may involve complying with orders for services, counseling, or other measures ordered by CPS or the court.
  3. Maintain Contact with Your Attorney: Regular communication with your attorney is vital to ensure they have all the information they need to represent you effectively.

In response to such circumstances, some beneficial steps or strategies to protect your interests during a CPS investigation and child protective proceedings could include:

  1. Engage an Attorney Early: The earlier you engage a child protective proceedings attorney, the better they can help you navigate the process and protect your rights.
  2. Document Everything: Keep a detailed record of all interactions with CPS, including dates, times, locations, and what you discussed with them. This information can be helpful for your attorney.
  3. Stay Calm and Respectful: It’s a challenging time, but remaining calm and respectful during all interactions with CPS and the court can positively impact your case.
  4. Follow Advice from Your Attorney: Your attorney is there to guide you through this process. Trust their advice and follow it closely.

Your situation is unique, and the appropriate course of action will depend on the specifics of your case. An experienced child protective proceedings attorney can provide tailored advice and representation based on your circumstances.

Consequences May Include Child Removal and Termination of Parental Rights

One potential consequence of child protective proceedings can indeed be the removal of a child from their home. In severe cases, this may also include the termination of your parental rights. This is considered a last resort when there are serious concerns about a child’s safety and well-being.

Child Removal

In situations where CPS believes a child is at immediate risk of harm, they might seek an order from the court for emergency removal. It can happen following an investigation in which severe abuse or neglect has been substantiated, and CPS has determined that remaining in the home would be detrimental to the child’s safety.

Following removal, a preliminary hearing is held within 24 hours to determine if the removal was necessary. If the court agrees with the removal, the child may be placed in foster care or with a suitable relative. The court then develops a plan to address the issues that led to the removal, to reunify the family whenever possible.

Termination of Parental Rights

Termination of parental rights is an extreme measure that is only pursued when it is determined that the parent cannot or will not provide a safe and appropriate environment for the child — even with support and services. Termination of parental rights makes the child eligible for adoption.

Before taking this step, CPS must make reasonable efforts to reunify the family, such as providing services that may include counseling, substance abuse treatment, parenting classes, et cetera. If these efforts fail to resolve the issue (or in cases of severe or chronic abuse or neglect), CPS may petition the court to terminate parental rights.

This process involves a trial where CPS must prove by clear and convincing evidence that the parent is unfit and that termination is in the interest of the child. If the court agrees, the parent’s rights are terminated, and the child becomes eligible for adoption.

These are serious and complex legal proceedings with lasting consequences. Anyone facing such a situation should seek the assistance of an experienced CPS attorney who can guide them through the process, protect their rights, and advocate for their interests.

The Steps of Child Protective Proceedings in Michigan

Child protective proceedings in Michigan generally follow these steps:

  1. Report of Abuse/Neglect: Proceedings begin when an allegation of child abuse or neglect is reported to Child Protective Services (CPS).
  2. Initial Investigation: CPS conducts an initial investigation to determine if enough evidence exists to support the allegations. It usually involves interviewing the child, parents, and any other relevant parties — and examining physical evidence if available.
  3. Assessment of Risk: If abuse or neglect is substantiated, CPS will assess the level of risk to the child. They consider factors such as the nature and severity of the abuse/neglect, the child’s age and vulnerability, and the caregiver’s ability to protect the child.
  4. Case Opened: If CPS determines that the child is at risk, they will open a case. The family may be offered services such as counseling, parenting classes, or substance abuse treatment to address the issues that led to the abuse or neglect.
  5. Petition Filed: If the child’s safety cannot be ensured in the home, CPS may file a petition with the court seeking protective custody or supervision.
  6. Preliminary Hearing: The court holds a preliminary hearing to decide whether the child should be removed from the home. Parents have the right to an attorney at this stage.
  7. Adjudication Hearing: At this hearing, the court will determine whether the allegations of abuse or neglect are true. If they are determined to be true, the court will make a decision about the child’s placement and order services for the parents.
  8. Disposition Hearing: Here, the court decides the long-term plan for the child. This could involve returning the child to the parent’s care, placing the child with a relative, or placing the child in foster care.
  9. Review Hearings: The court periodically reviews the case to monitor progress. If the parents comply with the court’s orders and make sufficient progress, the child may be returned to their care.
  10. Termination of Parental Rights — If Applicable: In severe cases where the parent fails to rectify the issues leading to abuse or neglect, the court may terminate parental rights, making the child eligible for adoption.

How a Child Protective Proceedings Attorney Can Help You in Michigan

Engaging a child protective proceedings lawyer can be instrumental for someone dealing with CPS or involved in child protective proceedings. Here are some ways an attorney can help you:

  1. Understanding the System: The CPS system and legal proceedings can be complex and overwhelming. An experienced attorney can help you understand the process, your rights, and what to expect at each step.
  2. Legal Representation: The attorney will represent your interests in court, ensuring your voice is heard. They can present evidence, cross-examine witnesses, and argue on your behalf.
  3. Navigating Investigations: During a CPS investigation, an attorney can provide advice on how to cooperate while protecting your rights and interests. They can also help gather and present evidence to refute false or exaggerated claims.
  4. Case Strategy: Your attorney will develop a strategy tailored to your specific circumstances. This could involve negotiating with CPS, advocating for services to address identified issues, or fighting for custody or visitation rights.
  5. Appeals: If you disagree with the findings or decisions made by CPS or the court, your attorney can guide you through the appeal process.
  6. Emotional Support: These proceedings can be emotionally draining. Having your attorney by your side can provide reassurance and confidence, as you will know that a professional is advocating for you.

Our experienced and knowledgeable team of CPS lawyers in MI can help you navigate this challenging journey, working towards the interests of you and your family.

Contact LaBre Law Office to Discuss Your Unique Child Protective Proceedings Case and Begin Planning Your Legal Strategy

You do not want to try to navigate child protective proceedings on your own. At LaBre Law Office, our family law attorney team has been helping families like yours in our community for over four decades, and we are prepared to be your guide. We serve clients throughout the “Michiana” area, as we are licensed on both sides of the Michigan-Indiana border.

Contact LaBre Law Office to schedule a consultation regarding your child protective proceedings case. We will assess the unique details of your situation and work with you to build a legal strategy for the benefit of you and your family.

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Why Choose LaBre Law Office?

Our clients in the Michiana area have confidence when LaBre Law Office handles their legal issues because our general practice law firm has established a record as a trusted member of the community for over four decades, serving our neighbors:

  • Caring, aggressive advocacy for your interests in many practice areas
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  • We will be here for you long after your legal issue is resolved

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