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CAN CPS REPEATEDLY FILE PETITIONS AGAINST ME?

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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.

"[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, "[p]robable 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).

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