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. However, that reporting person's identity is kept confidential.
ANYONE CAN REPORT, and CERTAIN INDIVIDUALS MUST report suspected child abuse or neglect. If you are one of the following, you are a mandatory reporter in Michigan:
Licensed emergency medical care providers.
Licensed master social workers.
Licensed bachelor's social workers.
Registered social service technicians.
Law enforcement officers.
Registered dental hygienists.
Marriage and family therapists.
Social service technicians.
Members of the clergy.
Licensed professional counselors.
Persons employed in a professional capacity in any office of the Friend of the Court.
Regulated child care providers.
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. However, ANYONE can report suspected child abuse and neglect, as well, using the same hotline. The verbal report can be completed by calling 855-444-3911. If a mandated reporter is dissatisfied with the response by DHS, the mandated reporter may contact the Mandated Reporter Hotline at 877-277-2585.
Is there a consequence for false reports? NO, not if the report is an honest mistake. Folks who use CPS reports as a "leg up" in another case and/or who do not have a reasonable belief in the allegations can be held criminally liable and civilly liable (to the parent falsely accused).
What about not reporting? Yes, if you are a mandated reporter. Mandated reporters who fail to report can be held civilly liable (to the victim) and, depending on the degree of recklessness in not reporting, criminally liable for a misdemeanor.
For more information about mandatory reporters, read these Michigan laws: Michigan's Child Protection Law