Articles Posted in Child Abuse

In Michigan, the issue of protecting children has always been at the forefront of our legal system and this is a theme that spans all of the way from the Michigan Bar Exam to the Michigan Supreme Court. While there is no question that children need protections provided from our court system and the legislature, far too often, parents are falling victim to be being falsly accused of crimes. One issue that needs to be addressed whether or not Child Protective Services (CPS) is truly deemed to be a government actor? Today we will provide some clarity on this issue.

The Starting Point

From a global perspective, it is obvious that CPS is employed by the state but what is lost in translation is that the mere concept of where the employees are paid does not in and of itself afford a defendant constitutional protection. One of the leaders in fighting for the rights of parents and defendants as a whole across the state of Michigan is Scott Grabel of Grabel and Associates. We sat down with Grabel to gain his insight on the matter and what he had to say truly opened up a great deal of hope for parents falsely accused of hurting their children. Grabel stated, “There is actually case law in other jurisdictions that dictate that CPS and the Department of Health and Human Services are government actors in the same breath as a police officer. Due process violations require a great deal of detail but the launching point for the attorney is to argue that the CPS worker is the functional equivalent of a police officer. The functional equivalent argument, if crafted properly, can provide an amazing safety net for parents that are falsely accused of such crimes.”

We all know that children often become what they’re exposed to, whether they live in high-crime areas, are the victims of abuse and neglect, or exposed to a substantial amount of crime/violence through television, video games, etc.  Thankfully, fighting crime through education, school programs, and providing support for troubled kids can help us build a future society of young people who instead of turning to crime can live productive, successful lives and hopefully avoid becoming a defendant in the criminal justice system.

Education is Our Future

Children today are tomorrow’s adults; what we must do is instill in kids that crime and violence are to be avoided.  This can begin at a very young age, and impact how our world will look 10 or 20 years from now in terms of crime rates.  An organization called Fight Crime: Invest in Kids supports anti-crime efforts and takes a close look at research regarding what we can all do to help ensure today’s kids don’t become tomorrow’s criminals.  The organization provides information that helps parents, police, and the general public understand what steps can be taken to improve kids’ lives and educate them about crime.

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