Rep. Schroeder’s plan better protects Michigan children
State Reps. Andrea Schroeder and Matt Hall today testified before the House Families, Children, and Seniors Committee.
State Rep. Andrea Schroeder today testified before the House Families, Children, and Seniors Committee in support of her plan to help keep children safe from abuse and neglect.
The Office of the Auditor General (OAG) released a Children’s Protective Services (CPS) Performance Audit last fall that raised an alarming number of concerns about a system that exists to ensure the safety and well-being of Michigan children.
As a member of the House Oversight Committee, Rep. Schroeder listened to the recommendations from the OAG and introduced a plan that is part of a package to reform Michigan’s Child Protection Law. Schroeder’s bill, House Bill 4706, will create two categories of cases, depending on the level of risk, where the families need further assistance by the CPS caseworker. Splitting Category 3 cases into two separate follow-up actions will give the CPS caseworker flexibility, while still requiring them to help the family receive local services to guarantee the safety of the child or children in the household. If a family does not participate in services or if a child’s risk is not alleviated, the case can be reclassified into a higher risk category.
“This plan puts Children’s Protective Services on the correct path to better protect our most vulnerable population, abused and neglected children,” said Schroeder, of Independence Township. “We can all agree that protecting our children is the number one priority for this department and ensuring CPS has the proper tools and guidelines to do so is imperative. I believe after our hearings and meetings with CPS, these reforms are the best way to achieve that goal.”
Other proposals in the package would:
· Allow CPS to document reasons it abbreviated an investigation and develop an investigation checklist.
· Require CPS to investigate a home where suspected child abuse or neglect has occurred within 24 hours of a report.
· Require Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to submit an annual report to verify each county is implementing protocols for child abuse and neglect cases.
· Add license-exempt child care providers to the Child Abuse and Neglect Central Registry if they have committed child abuse or neglect.
· Require CPS to provide periodic reports to the Legislature measuring its compliance with conditions raised in the Auditor General’s fall report.
House Bills 4704-4709 remain under consideration by the House Families, Children, and Seniors Committee.