Child Protective Proceedings
A Child Protective Proceeding is initiated with the Juvenile Court by the filing of a petition alleging abuse or neglect of a child under the age of 18 by their parent, guardian, or legal custodian. MCL 712A.2. A petition is typically filed by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the Livingston County Prosecutor's Office following an investigation by Children's Protective Services (CPS).
To ensure the safety of the child, the Juvenile Court maintains the authority to enter an order removing the child from the care and custody of a parent, guardian, or legal custodian and/or order that individual to leave the family home. If the allegations in the petition are found to be true following a trial or plea, the Juvenile Court can exercise jurisdiction over the child and order the parent, guardian, or legal custodian to engage in a service plan with the goal of reunification. The Juvenile Court may also terminate the parental rights to a child at the initial disposition hearing under certain circumstances or at a later termination hearing should a parent fail to comply with the court-ordered service plan.
If a respondent lacks the financial ability to hire an attorney to represent them in a child protective proceeding, they have the right to request an attorney appointed by the Juvenile Court.