Child Protective Services Lawyers in Michigan - Sex Crimes Related

Child Protective Services is responsible for investigating allegations of child abuse and neglect in Michigan. If you or someone you know is charged with a sex crime in Michigan and the allegations are against a child that you are the parent, legal guardian, or are personally responsible for, then you will need to defend against Child Protective Services with an experienced attorney in Michigan.

Defending against Child Protective Services adds another layer of complexity to criminal defense, because not only will you be defending against the criminal charges, but you may also need to defend against a petition by Child Protective Services to either have the child removed from your home, or you removed from your child's home. Consequently, you may need to obtain legal representation to defend your parental rights until you resolve the criminal proceedings. Grabel & Associates is dedicated to providing the highest level of quality legal representation for people facing allegations of abuse and neglect from Child Protective Services. Our goal is to demonstrate it is in the best interest of the child to keep the child in their home, and have the Child Protective Services petition to the court denied.

Child Protective Services Investigation

Child Protective Services has 30 days to complete an investigation unless extenuating circumstances require an extension. They usually begin their investigation within 24 hours after a report is filed. A Child Protective Services investigation will begin by reviewing any necessary documents including police reports, criminal history, medical reports, or a CPS case file. Child Protective Services will also conduct a thorough interview that includes interviewing the child, an assessment of the child's safety, and possibly interviewing friends and neighbors. Additionally, the Child Protective Services agent will view the family's home and assess the child's future risk for abuse or neglect. The purpose of the investigation and interview are to determine if there is evidence of child abuse or neglect.

The standard of proof used in determining abuse and neglect is a preponderance of the evidence. A preponderance of the evidence is considered the lowest standard of proof for requiring evidence. Beyond a reasonable doubt is the highest standard of proof, and requires the elements to be proven to a degree of certainty that a reasonable person would have almost no doubt as to the certainty of the information presented. Clear and convincing evidence is the second highest standard of proof often used in civil trials and requires a demonstration that the facts presented are substantially more likely to be true than not.

A preponderance of the evidence is the lowest standard of proof and only requires a 51% certainty that a fact exists or occurred, or that the fact is more likely true than not false. Consequently, the Child Protective Service agent does not need a great deal of evidence to make a unilateral determination that a situation of abuse or neglect exists or has occurred. However, you will have an opportunity to disprove the Child Protective Services agent’s findings before a circuit court judge when Child Protective Services petitions the court for removal. First, let us review the definitions Child Protective Services uses for abuse and neglect in making their determinations.

Child Abuse

Child abuse is a comprehensive term and is defined by The Child Protection Law under MCL 722.621 and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Under that definition, child abuse is harm or threatened harm to a child’s health or welfare that occurs through non-accidental physical or mental injury, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, or maltreatment. This abuse can occur from a parent, a legal guardian, or any other person responsible for the child’s health or welfare such as a teacher, a teacher’s aide, or a member of the clergy.

Child Neglect

Neglect of a child is also a broad term that details the more passive role of failing to attend to a child’s needs. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services defines child neglect as, harm or threatened harm to a child's health or welfare by a parent, legal guardian, or any other person responsible for the child's health or welfare. Child abuse can occur through either of the following: First, negligent treatment, including failing to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, or medical care. Second, placing the child at unreasonable risk by a failure of the parent or legal guardian to intervene to eliminate that risk when the person can do so, and has, or should have knowledge of that risk.

Concluding the Investigation and Court Petitions

At the close of the Child Protective Services investigation, the CPS agent will place the file in one of five categories. Category five is when the CPS agent is unable to locate the family, and consequently, no evidence of abuse or neglect exists. The likely outcome for a category five file is for the CPS agent to petition the court for the family to cooperate with the investigation. Category four is the ideal category for a family to be placed in because it signifies that there was not a preponderance of the evidence demonstrating the presence of abuse or neglect found.

The remaining categories one through three all include some measure of abuse and neglect beyond a preponderance of the evidence. Category three is when there is a preponderance of the evidence that abuse or neglect exists, but the risk factor is considered low to moderate. Category two is when the department determines that abuse or neglect existed by a preponderance of the evidence, and there is a high or intensive risk associated with the abuse or neglect. Category one is considered the most serious and represents a preponderance of the evidence that abuse or neglect of the child or children is present and that a court petition is necessary or required.

Court Petitions

Court petitions are an essential part of defending against Child Protective Services, because CPS cannot remove a child from their home without an order from the court except in a few limited exceptions where there is evidence of child sexual abuse. Abuse and neglect proceedings are held at The Family Division of the circuit court in the county where the child resides.

Adequate preparation and competent representation at the hearings are essential to defending against Child Protective services actions. Child Protective Services is required to file a petition under MCL 722.628(1)(e) if Child Protective Services determines there is a preponderance of the evidence that abuse or neglect exists.

Child Protective Services will file a petition with the court for one of the three following reasons. First, when an investigation results in a category five, and consequently, Child Protective Services will petition the court to have the family cooperate with in-home services. Child Protective Services may also petition the court to remove a child from their home if they have detected the presence of a preponderance of the evidence that abuse or neglect existed. Lastly, Child Protective Services may petition the court to remove a particular individual from the child's home that Child Protective Services has determined to be an offender.

If you or someone you care about is facing a petition from Child Protective Services to have yourself or your child removed from the home, then it is imperative to demonstrate to the court and Child Protective Services that it is in the best interest of the child to remain in the home. Grabel & Associates can help you prepare and present your case to demonstrate that it is in the best interest of the child to deny the petition so that the child can remain in their home.

Grabel & Associates Approach to Child Protective Services Petitions for Removal

Anytime Child Protective Services becomes involved, the situation is dire and demands the most exceptional legal representation available. Grabel & Associates has been representing people accused of abuse and neglect for nearly two decades, and we are here to help you and your family obtain the quality legal representation you deserve. We know how difficult this situation is to be fighting a battle on two fronts, and we are here to help and support you and your family through this difficult time. Our experience, knowledge, and aggressive pursuit of your legal interests will have an impact on the final disposition of your case. We will work with you to get the Child Protective Services court petition for removal denied, so that you and your family may remain together. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to begin the process of formulating your individualized, aggressive, and comprehensive legal defense strategy. Please call us at 1-800-883-1238 or contact us online for a free consultation.

Client Reviews

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Just starting the case. Scott Grabel is a very down to earth kind of guy. He doesn't rush you and answers your questions very thoroughly. Scott and Tim Doman return calls quickly. We're still early but I will post an update throughout our process. D. J.
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