COVID-19 is affecting Michigan parents in many dramatic ways. Even more so for those parents with limited amounts of parenting time due to CPS interference in their family life. To combat COVID-19, Governor Whitmer issued an Executive Order telling Michigan residents to shelter-in-place. The order doesn’t expire until mid-April. Michigan DHHS then issued COVID-19 guidelines for foster care and CPS, which included suspending face-to-face parenting time in most cases. Now I have many upset parents calling me and asking what can be done.
Although we cannot undo the Executive Order, there are still ways for a parent to interact, support and be a part of their children’s lives; even if you cannot be physically present. First, don’t give up altogether on parenting time. Your CPS worker can and should help you arrange for video conferencing (FaceTime, Zoom, etc.) or phone calls where appropriate. Make those interactions positive. Make them count. Your child needs to know you haven’t disappeared in these uncertain times.
Second, continue to provide for your child’s needs in any way you can within the parameters of your Court Orders. If permissible, think of a favorite game or special treat. Order it online and have it delivered to your child. Make sure your Foster Care Worker knows about it and approves. You may need to use an Amazon locker or the post office through “general delivery” to accomplish this. The UPS store and ipostal1 are other possibilities. It may take some work, but your child is worth it. Your efforts won’t go unnoticed. Also, talk to your attorney about other ways you can show support for your child while under these temporary rules.
Third, remember that this is a temporary situation. You cannot control what is happening, but you can control your own attitude about it. Think positively, do what you can, and let go of the rest. We’ll all get through this.
If I can be of more assistance, please give me a call. My whole practice is focused on helping parents defend their rights to parent their own children. It would be my honor to assist you.