The House Families, Children, and Seniors Committee today discussed a plan introduced by state Rep. Kathy Crawford to help keep children safe from abuse and neglect.
The Office of the Auditor General released a Children’s Protective Services (CPS) performance audit last fall that raised many concerns for a system that exists to ensure the safety and well-being of Michigan children.
In response to the recommendations from the House Oversight Committee, Rep. Crawford introduced a plan to allow CPS to document reasons it abbreviated an investigation and develop an abbreviated investigation checklist. Abbreviated investigations occur when an investigator believes early on in an investigation that no child abuse or neglect occurred.
Abbreviated investigations require approval from the county director. Without it, the caseworker is required to carry out a full investigation.
“It is important to follow rigorous protocols to ensure no incident of abuse slips through the cracks,” said Crawford, of Novi. “No child should have to suffer, and we must stop abuse in its tracks at every possible opportunity.”
Other proposals that make up the package recommended by the House Oversight Committee to improve Michigan’s child protection laws would:
• Require CPS to investigate a home where suspected child abuse or neglect has occurred within 24 hours of reported child abuse or neglect.
• Require CPS to monitor a family that needs to receive community-based services to alleviate a child’s risk of abuse and neglect.
• Add certain license-exempt child care providers to the Child Abuse and Neglect Central Registry if a preponderance of evidence exists that the care providers committed child abuse or neglect.
• Require Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to submit an annual report to verify each county has implemented protocols for child abuse and neglect.
• Require CPS to provide periodic reports to the Legislature measuring its compliance with conditions raised in the Auditor General’s fall report.
House Bill 4704 remains under consideration by the House Families, Children, and Seniors Committee.