CAN CPS BRING MULTIPLE CASES AGAINST ME?

YES, BUT THERE MUST BE NEW OR CHANGED CIRCUMSTANCES OR INFORMATION, AND THE COURT MUST STILL FIND PROBABLE CAUSE TO ALLOW THE PETITION TO PROCEED.

Jennifer M Paine

"[D]eterminations of reasonable suspicion and probable cause should be reviewed de novo on appeal." Matthews v Blue Cross & Blue Shield, 456 Mich 365, 367; 572 NW2d 603 (1998). "Probable cause means that a fair probability exists" that the alleged act occurred. People v Clark, 220 Mich App 240, 241; 559 NW2d 78 (1996). Similarly, "probable cause means a reasonable ground of suspicion, supported by circumstances sufficiently strong in themselves" that the alleged act occurred. Josselyn v McAllister, 22 Mich 300, 304 (1871).

According to MCR 3.991(E), upon review the Court must enter an order adopting the referee's recommendation unless:

(1) the judge would have reached a different result had he or she heard the case; or

(2) the referee committed a clear error of law, which

(a) likely would have affected the outcome, or

(b) cannot otherwise be considered harmless.

The Court must rule on the basis of the record and the memorandums prepared. The Court may also conduct a hearing if appropriate for the case. MCR 3.991(F).

While amended petitions are permitted under the Child Protection Law and the Juvenile Code, the amended petition must set forth new facts or new occurrences.

As set forth in the benchmark case In re Pardee, 190 Mich App 243; 475 NW2d 870 (1991), res judicata did not bar an order terminating a father's parental rights, even though the petitioner relied in part on facts that predated a prior order denying termination, where the petitioner also relied on circumstances that were new and different from the grounds raised in the first petition." When the facts have changed or new facts develop, the dismissal of a prior termination proceeding will not operate as a bar to a subsequent termination proceeding. Id. at 249. However, the new facts or changed circumstances must alter the status quo. Id.

The facts and circumstances must be new or changed. For example, in In re Daech, an amended petition was allowed because the respondent father failed to comply with a court-ordered treatment plan, and his capacity to provide proper cause and custody for his child remained questionable. As another example, in In re Reinek, an amended petition was allowed because investigations after filing the first revealed the respondent mother knew of sexual abuse against one of her children, as well as shed light on the more extensive nature of abuse than the first petition alleged.

However, when there are no "new substantial material facts," a first petition that is not authorized or is decided is res judicata as to a later, amended petition. In re Newman, 49 Ore App 221; 619 P2d 901 (1980) (cited in In re Pardee).

HOW TO REPORT CHILD ABUSE

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A referral of child abuse and or neglect can be made by any person including a child, who has reasonable cause to suspect child abuse or neglect. You may report the matter to the Department of Human Services or any law enforcement agency. The information in a Child Protective Services complaint needs to be provided by the individual who actually has observed the alleged victim or had contact with the child regarding the complaint.

Contact the CPS Emergency Contact Number 1-855-444-3911 to make a report of suspected child abuse and or neglect.

Certain individuals must report suspected child abuse or neglect. If you are one of the following, you are a mandatory reporter in Michigan:

Physicians

Licensed emergency medical care providers.

Licensed master social workers.

School counselors.

Dentists.

Audiologists.

Licensed bachelor's social workers.

Teachers.

Physician's assistants.

Psychologists.

Registered social service technicians.

Law enforcement officers.

Registered dental hygienists.

Marriage and family therapists.

Social service technicians.

Members of the clergy.

Medical examiners.

Licensed professional counselors.

Persons employed in a professional capacity in any office of the Friend of the Court.

Regulated child care providers.

Nurses.

Social workers.

School administrators.

Employees of an organization or entity that, as a result of federal funding statutes, regulations, or contracts, would be prohibited from reporting in the absence of a state mandate or court order (example: domestic violence provider).

The following Department of Human Services employees also have a legal mandate to report suspected child abuse or neglect:

  • Eligibility specialists.
  • Family independence manager or specialists. -
  • Social services specialists.
  • Social work specialists.
  • Social work specialist managers.
  • Welfare services specialists.

Making a Report of Suspected Child Abuse/Neglect -- Mandated reporters are required to make an immediate verbal report to CPS and a written report within 72 hours when they suspect child abuse or neglect. Mandated reporters must also notify the head of their organization of the report. Reporting the suspected allegations of child abuse and/or neglect to the head of the organization does not fulfill the requirement to report directly to DHS.

The verbal report can be completed by calling 855-444-3911.

Mandated Reporter Hotline --If a mandated reporter is dissatisfied with the response by DHS, the mandated reporter may contact the Mandated Reporter Hotline at 877-277-2585.

For more information about mandatory reporters, read these Michigan laws: Michigan's Child Protection Law