How to Avoid This Happening to You
For parents caught up in criminal prosecutions and CPS investigations, past history can make things even worse. A recent case from Calhoun County, (Battle Creek) illustrates this point. The Michigan Court of Appeals upheld the termination of parental rights in the case of In re Murphy, Minor. The mother had lost three other children in prior proceedings. She had also struggled extensively with drug addictions and was serving a prison sentence with at least 15 months left at the time of termination. Any one of those factors could lead to the loss of parental rights for any parent. And it is practically a given that, unless there is a strategy in place designed to help preserve those rights, it will happen when there is all three.
When a parent has negative history, especially the loss of parental rights in the past, CPS is likely to take action when a new child is born. Most common? The filing of a new Petition in the Family Division of the Circuit Court. The state will seek to take jurisdiction over the baby and/or terminate parental rights. The parents will be at a substantial disadvantage if they have not already been taking actions to fix the problems at issue in earlier cases.
A parent with negative history (prior termination, criminal history, drug abuse history or other forms of neglect or abuse) should form a proactive plan long before a new baby is born. It is best to work with an experienced neglect/abuse attorney who understands child protective proceedings and is used to working both in court and out of court to assist parents.
A proactive plan will need to look carefully and honestly at past history. It will need to find ways to address the issues that led to CPS involvement in the first place. The mission is to focus on the real problems; showing real progress in the prior areas of concern. Yes, the burden of proving a case is always going to be on the shoulders of CPS and the prosecution. But parents in this situation should approach the matter as if they had something to prove: That what brought them into the system in the first place has been fixed and things have changed for the better.
If the prior cases involved drugs, severe physical abuse, or sexual abuse, avoiding termination of parental rights can be a real challenge. No parent should face this alone. If you have a need for a Calhoun County CPS attorney, we can help. Our firm represents parents throughout the lower peninsula of Michigan.
Feel free to contact us for a free initial phone screening of your case with CPS. Defending parental rights is what we do.