Neglect & Abuse

Michigan’s Child Protection Law defines child abuse and neglect as harm or threatened harm to a child’s health or welfare by a parent, legal guardian or any other person responsible for the child’s health or welfare

Investigation & Complaints

In Michigan, the Department of Human Services (DHS) is responsible for investigating reports of suspected child abuse and neglect. It is required that DHS evaluate the risk to the child and determine the potential for positive family change during the investigation. If DHS believes the child is at risk of harm in the home, a formal complaint is prepared and a Preliminary Hearing scheduled in Family Court. The Family Court has the authority to remove children from their home and place them elsewhere or order a parent from the home to maintain the children’s safety while the case is proceeding.

Request for Attorney

When a neglect / abuse hearing is scheduled in Family Court, a parent is entitled to a court-appointed attorney if the parent can demonstrate an inability to afford one. Requests for a court-appointed attorney should be made before the hearing to avoid delaying the hearing. The request must be made on an approved court form (PDF) and specific financial information must accompany the request.