Far-Reaching Impact: Collateral Consequences Of Medical Child Abuse Allegations In Michigan
Facing accusations and convictions of medical child abuse in Michigan carries severe collateral consequences that reach beyond typical the potential penalties for a criminal child abuse charge. Continue reading to learn:
- The role Child Protective Services (CPS) plays if you’ve been accused of child abuse.
- The depth to which CPS investigates accusations of child abuse.
- What the Central Registry for Child Abuse is – and how it can turn your life upside down.
What Are The Collateral Consequences For Anyone Convicted Of Medical Child Abuse In Michigan?
Being accused and convicted of medical child abuse in Michigan can have very severe and real collateral consequences that extend beyond typical potential penalties for a child abuse charge.
When allegations of child abuse arise, Child Protective Services (CPS), an investigative arm of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), initiates a comprehensive investigation. In some ways, this investigation may be more in-depth than the criminal investigation you will also undergo.
Since the abuse of one child is presumptive proof of abuse and neglect of another child to CPS, the investigation will focus not only on the suspected victim but on all children in the household. Siblings may undergo extensive medical tests, evaluations, and interviews as a result. Sexual abuse will likely also be suspected, and thus, a sexual assault nurse examination will likely be conducted as well.
If serious harm is found, CPS will file a Petition seeking to terminate a person’s parental rights. While the criminal case determines guilt and criminal penalties, the CPS case determines the potential loss of parental rights, a consequence often as significant as criminal punishment. Many parents would rather go to prison than forfeit their parental rights over their children.
These allegations also trigger the alleged parent — not convicted, and sometimes not even charged — to be included in the Central Registry for Child Abuse. This is, in many ways, comparable to a sex offender registry. It is not public, and is basically only accessible by law enforcement, relevant state agencies, and people licensed in capacities pertaining to children, such as foster care workers and child care providers.
Being on this registry can create serious obstacles for parents. For those with licenses, such as nurses, police officers, doctors, lawyers, teachers, daycare workers, or foster care workers, child abuse allegations pose a significant threat to their licenses. The licensing board may take disciplinary actions, jeopardizing their careers.
Individuals who have a CPS petition filed against them are automatically placed on the Central Registry for Child Abuse. To be removed, a person must file a petition after the conclusion of the criminal or CPS case. This process is not opt-in but opt-out, requiring an active step to request removal. The decision is often made by an administrative law judge, which, in many instances, can function as a kangaroo court.
Child abuse allegations, especially those involving medical child abuse with serious criminal charges, can lead to a conviction by the court of public opinion. Individuals may experience significant stigma, damage to their reputation, and disruptions in their personal and professional lives.
Employment, housing, and community standing can be adversely affected. Accusations of medical child abuse can result in job loss or unpaid leave, affecting financial stability. Housing situations, especially for renters, may be compromised if neighbors become aware of the allegations.
Medical child abuse cases often attract a significant amount of media attention, exposing the accused to unwanted public scrutiny. Publicized cases can have lasting effects on an individual’s personal and professional life, making it difficult, if at all possible, to rebuild reputation and trust.
For more information on Potential Penalties For Medical Child Abuse, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (248) 509-0056 today.