Stanford, CA asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Michigan

Q: Under Michigan law, is it permissible for CPS to demand a parent to secure property without government assistance?

If a CPS investigation is open due to “failure to protect” from an ex-husband who tried to kill his wife and the children currently reside in foster care, can CPS legally draw out a case by making demands such as securing a car or a home without any government assistance, such as food benefits, unemployment, and other programs in order to get their kids back?

This is separate from the obvious counterintuitive process of removal in this case, which victimized a victim (the mother) of domestic violence. In this case, no abuse or neglect was documented as having been experienced by the children and the mother is fully capable of parenting.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Brent T. Geers
Brent T. Geers
  • Grand Rapids, MI
  • Licensed in Michigan

A: There's a lot more to these situations than what "the law" says. If there is a reason found under the child protection act or juvenile code to remove a child and initiate termination proceedings, then the struggle becomes compliance with the treatment plan for reunification. There are no hard or fast rules about that.

The goal of reunification includes a parent returning to self-sufficiency. The hard fact of the matter is that money for reunification services is tied to court proceedings. Once children are returned and the case ends, so does the money. "The law" does not intend, nor would a judge desire, to create situations prone to repeating themselves. And so from that perspective, but without knowing the exact allegations involved in this case, there is a point to be made about conditioning the return of the children to the mother having stable housing.

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