Child Protective Services Attorneys in Kalamazoo
Handling CPS Investigations & Cases throughout West Michigan
When someone is accused of child abuse, they will be prosecuted through the criminal justice system. However, Child Protective Services (CPS) may also launch a separate investigation to ensure the safety of children involved in the allegations. Established in 1975, CPS is the program within the Department of Human Services that investigates allegations of child abuse and neglect.
If you have been accused of child abuse, you need aggressive representation on your side. Our CPS attorneys in Kalamazoo can represent you during the investigation and make sure your rights are protected at all stages of the process.
Contact us today for a free consultation —just call (888) 461-7744. We represent clients from our offices in Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, and Paw Paw.
Categories for CPS Investigations
Upon conclusion, all CPS investigations are assigned one of five dispositional categories:
- Cat. 5 — No evidence found.
- Cat. 4 — Some evidence, but less than a preponderance.
- Cat. 3 — A preponderance of evidence supports that abuse or neglect has occurred, but a structured decision-making tool indicates a low or moderate risk of future harm to the child.
- Cat. 2 — A preponderance of evidence supports that abuse or neglect has occurred, but a structured decision-making tool indicates high or intensive harm to the child. The department shall open a Protective Services case and provide the services necessary.
- Cat. 1 — A preponderance of evidence supports that abuse or neglect has occurred and the circumstances are such that a court petition must be filed with the family court to ensure the safety of the children involved.
In both Category 1 and 2 cases, the names of the persons that CPS has determined to be perpetrators of child abuse or neglect are listed on the Michigan Child Abuse and Neglect Central Registry. Depending on the nature of the allegations, perpetrators may remain on the list for either 10 years or until DHS receives "reliable information that the perpetrator is dead." This is required by the state’s child protection law and no hearing is required for this to be done, although DHS must give notice to those being listed as perpetrators on the Central Registry.
What to Expect in Child Protective Proceedings
Individuals may be listed on the Central Registry regardless of whether any criminal prosecution occurs or whether a child protective proceeding under the Juvenile Code is initiated by DHS in family court.
In child protective proceedings initiated in family court, DHS may seek to have the caretakers ordered to comply with services designed to address the concerns listed on the petition. Alternatively, DHS may seek to have the children removed and placed with relatives or in foster care. Depending on the circumstances, DHS may also request the termination of parental rights.
Request a Hearing under the Administrative Procedures Act
Many professions — including teachers and other care providers — and prospective adoptive and foster parents now require that individuals show proof that he or she is not listed on the Central Registry. Anyone who requests to have their name removed from the Central Registry has the right to a hearing under the Administrative Procedures Act if their request is denied. However, despite what the notices seem to say, you can request that your name be removed from the Central Registry at any time.
Please note that, due to a recent change in the law, individuals only have six months to request a hearing regarding whether their name should remain on the Central Registry. Following that, a hearing may still be granted during an additional 60-day grace period if good cause can be shown. Don't let the time run out! Consult our CPS attorneys in Kalamazoo to see whether you may be able to have your name expunged from the Central Registry.
Consult with Us Today
Whether you are currently involved with Child Protective Services or were listed on the Central Registry years ago, Willis Law may be able to assist you. We take the time to review every detail before moving forward with a well-planned strategy.
Reach us by phone at (888) 461-7744 or contact us online today.
Michael J. Willis J.D., C.P.A.
Shaun P. Willis J.D.
Frank D. Willis J.D.
Donald H. Smith
Mariko C. Willis
Samuel R. Gilbertson J.D.
Verelle Kirkwood J.D.
Kristyn Meylenberg J.D.