Making and Screening Reports of Child Abuse and Neglect - Michigan

Date:

Individual Responsibility to Report

Citation: Comp. Laws § 722.623(1)

A mandated reporter who has reasonable cause to suspect child abuse or child neglect shall make an immediate report to centralized intake by telephone, or, if available, through the online reporting system, of the suspected child abuse or child neglect. Within 72 hours after making an oral report by telephone to centralized intake, the reporting person shall file a written report as required in this act. If the immediate report has been made using the online reporting system and that report includes the information required in a written report, that report is considered a written report for the purposes of this section and no additional written report is required.

Content of Reports

Citation: Comp. Laws § 722.623(2)

The written report shall contain the following:

  • The name of the child and a description of the abuse or neglect
  • If possible, the names and addresses of the child's parents, guardian, or persons with whom the child resides, and the child's age
  • Other information available to the reporting person that might establish the cause of the abuse or neglect, and the manner in which the abuse or neglect occurred

Reporting Suspicious Deaths

Citation: Comp. Laws §§ 722.627k; 722.628b

If a child dies who is under the court's jurisdiction, the Department of Health and Human Services shall provide notification in writing or electronically no later than 1 business day to the court that had jurisdiction over the child at the time of the child's death, the State senator and State representative who represent the district in which that court is located, and the children's ombudsman.

The department shall notify the children's ombudsman within 1 business day when a child dies and any of the following apply:

  • The child died during an active child protective services investigation or an open child protective services case.
  • The department received a prior child protective services complaint concerning the child's caregiver.
  • The child's death may have resulted from child abuse or neglect.

If a central registry case involves a child's death, the department shall refer the case to the prosecuting attorney for the county in which the child is located.

Reporting Substance-Exposed Infants

Citation: Comp. Laws § 722.623a

A mandated reporter who knows, or from the child's symptoms has reasonable cause to suspect, that a newborn infant has any amount of alcohol, a controlled substance, or a metabolite of a controlled substance in his or her body, shall report to the department in the same manner as other reports.

Agency Receiving the Reports

Citation: Comp. Laws §§ 722.622; 722.623

The term 'centralized intake' means the department's statewide centralized processing center for reports of suspected child abuse and child neglect. The 'online reporting system' is the electronic system established by the department for mandatory reporters to report suspected child abuse or child neglect.

The written report required in this section shall be mailed or otherwise transmitted to centralized intake.

Upon receipt of a written report of suspected child abuse or neglect, the department may provide copies to the prosecuting attorney and the probate court of the counties in which the child suspected of being abused or neglected resides and is found.

Initial Screening Decisions

Citation: Pol. Man, §§ 712-1; 712-8

Intake begins when a complaint alleging child abuse and/or neglect is received by the department. The intake process is focused on initial fact gathering and evaluation of information to determine the validity of the complaint and to assess the level of risk to the child. Evaluation of the complaint information determines the nature and priority of the initial response.

For a report to be assigned for Child Protective Services (CPS) investigation, the complaint allegations must minimally meet the child protection law definitions of child abuse and/or neglect to be appropriate for assignment. The elements that must be present to assign a complaint for investigation include allegations of harm or threatened harm to a child's health or welfare through nonaccidental or neglectful behavior by a person responsible for the child's health and welfare.

Agency Conducting the Assessment/Investigation

Citation: Comp. Laws § 722.628

Within 24 hours after receiving a report, the department shall refer the report to the prosecuting attorney and the local law enforcement agency if the report indicates that the suspected abuse or neglect is the suspected cause of a child's death, involves suspected sexual abuse or sexual exploitation, resulted in severe physical injury to the child, or involves allowing a child to be exposed to methamphetamine production. The department shall commence an investigation of the child suspected of being abused or neglected or exposed to or who has had contact with methamphetamine production.

In conducting its investigation, the department shall seek the assistance of and cooperate with law enforcement officials within 24 hours after becoming aware that one or more of the following conditions exist:

  • Abuse or neglect is the suspected cause of a child's death.
  • The child is the victim of suspected sexual abuse or sexual exploitation.
  • Abuse or neglect resulting in severe physical injury to the child requires medical treatment or hospitalization.
  • Law enforcement intervention is necessary for the protection of the child, a department employee, or another person involved in the investigation.
  • The alleged perpetrator of the child's injury is not a person responsible for the child's health or welfare.
  • The child has been exposed to or had contact with methamphetamine production.

Involvement of law enforcement officials under this section does not relieve or prevent the department from proceeding with its investigation or treatment if there is reasonable cause to suspect that the child abuse or neglect was committed by a person responsible for the child's health or welfare.

Assessment/Investigation Procedures

Citation: Comp. Laws § 722.628; Pol. Man. § 713-01

In its investigation, the department shall determine if the child is abused or neglected. The department shall cooperate with law enforcement officials, the court, and appropriate State agencies providing human services in relation to preventing, identifying, and treating child abuse and child neglect. At the time that a department investigator contacts an individual about whom a report has been made or contacts an individual responsible for the health or welfare of a child about whom a report has been made, the investigator shall advise that individual of the investigator's name, whom the investigator represents, and the specific complaints or allegations made against the individual.

In policy: CPS must do the following:

  • Commence the investigation within 24 hours
  • Make face-to-face contact and conduct interviews with all children in the home, the alleged perpetrator, and any nonparent adult known to spend significant time with the family
  • Verify the identity and birth dates of the children, the child's parents or guardians, and the alleged perpetrator
  • Determine Native American heritage of any person and their children
  • Thoroughly check the family's background, including a central registry clearance
  • Conduct a home visit to observe the infant's sleep environment in a case involving a child age who is age 12 months or younger
  • Assess the complaint allegations and identify the children who may have been involved
  • Assess the caregiver's ability to meet the needs of the child
  • Identify any immediate child safety concerns and whether a safety plan is warranted
  • Identify strengths and needs of the family
  • Gather information to complete risk and safety assessments

Timeframes for Completing Investigations

Citation: Pol. Man. §§ 712-4; 713-01

When centralized intake (CI) receives a complaint of suspected child abuse or neglect, the CI worker determines whether the case is assigned as a priority one or priority two response based on the priority response tool. CI may override the priority response if necessary, depending on the urgency of the situation and child safety concerns (for example, law enforcement requesting assistance).

A caseworker must commence an investigation and make face-to-face contact with alleged child victims within the corresponding timeframes, as follows:

  • A priority one response investigation must be commenced within 12 hours. Face-to-face contact must take place with each alleged child victim within 24 hours.
  • A priority two response investigation must commence within 24 hours after receipt of the report from CI. Face-to-face contact must take place with each alleged child victim within 72 hours.

Investigations must be completed within 30 days from the department's receipt of the complaint unless an extension is granted. The investigation must include the systematic, objective, and unbiased examination of facts and evidence that support the determination that a preponderance of evidence of child abuse/neglect exists or does not exist.

Classification of Reports

Citation: Comp. Laws § 722.628d

Allegations of child abuse may be classified as follows:

  • Category V: Services not needed. There is no evidence of child abuse or neglect.
  • Category IV: Community services recommended. There is not a preponderance of evidence of child abuse or neglect, but there is an indication of future risk of harm to the child.
  • Category III: Community services needed. There is a preponderance of evidence of child abuse or neglect and an indication of low or moderate risk of future harm to the child.
  • Category II: Child protective services required. There is evidence of child abuse or neglect and an indication of high or intensive risk of future harm to the child. The department shall open a protective services case, provide services, and list the perpetrator on the central registry.
  • Category I: Court petition required. There is evidence of child abuse or neglect, the child is not safe, and a petition for removal is needed.