One of the most discouraging part of a family practice is to see how often a parent will call protective services or do something that precipitates a call to protective services simply to try to get an advantage in a child custody dispute. I often see this behavior during child custody proceedings or when a parent is trying to relocate to another community or state.
What many parents do not seem to realize is this: CPS is wise to you. If there is a pending child custody dispute, a complaint by one parent that the other parent is "sexually molesting" a child will be regarded with skepticism. But what is a parent to do when he or she suspects that something really damaging is happening to a child? How can a parent encourage a protective services worker to take seriously a complaint?
Or, how can a child who cries out to be heard get his or her account of abusive behavior on the part of a parent or a parent's BF or GF before the Court without a hearsay objection? [I hear from one almost every week, usually as a comment to a blog piece on the topic "When can a child decide which parent he or she wants to live with?"] The descriptions of what is occurring in that child's home will often prompt me to email the child and encourage him or her to seek out a mandated reporter--someone who is legally bound to make a complaint to protective services to protect the child. A mandated reporter's statements to protective services will be given more weight than those of a parent perceived as one attempting to skew the results in a child custody dispute.
Who are Mandated Reporters?
In Michigan, the following are mandated reporters:
In the Medical Setting:
- Physician's assistants
- Licensed emergency medical care providers
- Registered dental hygienists
In the Mental Health Care Setting:
- Social workers
- Registered social service technicians
- Marriage and family therapists
- Licensed master social workers
- Licensed bachelor's social workers
- Licensed professional counselors
- Social service technicians
In the Law Enforcement Setting:
- Law enforcement officers
- Medical examiners
In the School Setting:
- School counselors
- School administrators
- Persons employed in a professional capacity in any office of the Friend of the Court
- Regulated child care providers
- Members of the clergy
Other persons required to report suspected child abuse or neglect: Employees of an organization or entity that, as a result of federal funding statutes, regulations, or contracts, would be prohibited from reporting in the absence of a state mandate or court order (example: domestic violence provider).
The following Department of Human Services employees also have a legal mandate to report suspected child abuse or neglect:
- Eligibility specialists.
- Family independence manager or specialists. -
- Social services specialists.
- Social work specialists.
- Social work specialist managers.
- Welfare services specialists.
View the Mandated Reporter's Resource Guide for more information.
See a related post: What is Child Abuse and/or Neglect?