Child Abuse Hearings and Proceedings

Department of Human Services and Child Protective Service Hearings
If you are charged with Child Abuse, it is likely you will also have dealings with the Michigan Department of Human Services and Children's Protective Services. These are separate proceedings from any criminal proceedings you may face. Depending on the circumstances, these agencies may move to terminate your parental rights or at a minimum, move to take temporary custody of your children.

Authorization of the Petition
Children's Protective Service hearings are somewhat different than criminal proceeding. On receiving a report of suspected child absue, CPS must conduct an investigation and, depending on the findings of that investigation, take one of several possible actions. Those actions range from simply closing the case to seeking a petition where the family court can obtain jurisdiction over the children. The Court's jurisdiction may include temporary custody of the children up to terminating parental rights.

When a petition is requested, the court must determine whether there is sufficient evidence to bring the child within the court’s jurisdiction. And if the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that there is a basis for the CPS action, the court will acquire jurisdiction over them.

The petition may seek the temporary custody or even termination of parental rights at the initial dispositional hearing, however, the majority of petitions filed seek only temporary custody. The Department of Human Services (DHS), must however, seek termination at the initial dispositional hearing in cases involving the most serious forms of child abuse or neglect (e.g., torture, criminal sexual conduct involving penetration, extreme injuries to a child, etc.).

Temporary Custody and Termination of Parental Rights
Typically, the court will assert temporary jurisdiction over the child. When it does so, the court must establish a treatment plan intended to assist the parents in regaining custody of the child. The court must then conduct periodic review hearings to determine whether progress is being made by the parent and whether continued wardship of the child is warranted.

If the Court finds that a child cannot be reunified with her or his parent safely, the court has authority to terminate parental rights if one of the statutory bases is established by clear and convincing evidence. Even if the court finds that there is a legal basis for terminating the parent’s rights, it must also determine that it would be in the child’s best interest to do so.

Experienced Representation
Because the stakes in a Children's Protection Services action are so great, possible termination of parental rights or even temporary custody by the Court, you need an experienced attorney who can represent you at all phases of the proceedings. An attorney who understands the process, has experience dealing with the various agencies involved, and who is familiar with how the Family Courts operate can make the difference whether you keep or lose your children.

The Law Office of James G. Schmier, PLLC is a Criminal Defense, Drunk Driving DUI and Family Law and Divorce law firm and provides legal representation in Wayne County, Oakland County, Macomb County and throughout Michigan including these Michigan cities:

Macomb County

Armada
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Clinton
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Wyandotte

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The Law Office of James G. Schmier, PLLC
Criminal Defense, Drunk Driving DUI Defense and Family Law Divorce Attorney
(248) 705 3742