Michigan’s Child Protection Law

Michigan’s Child Protection Law requires certain individuals, called mandated reporters, to report child abuse and neglect.   Mandated reporters are professionals who, in the ordinary course of their work and because they have regular contact with children, are required to report when abuse has been observed or suspected or when there has been evidence of neglect.  Examples of mandated reporters include nurses, physicians, licensed bachelor’s/master’s social workers, dentists, school administrators, school counselors, teachers and law enforcement officers.

With the increase in minors on college campuses through direct credit/dual enrollment programs, colleges need to take steps to make sure that members of the campus community understand their own individual role and responsibility with respect to satisfying reporting obligations.

The law includes procedures that must be followed for reporting, investigating and responding to child abuse and neglect.  Mandated reporters are required to report suspected child abuse and neglect directly to the Department of Human Services by making an immediate verbal report, followed by a written report within 72 hours.  There are civil and criminal penalties should a mandated reporter fail to make a report.

Mandated reporters must also notify the head of their organization and provide them with a written copy of the report.  Mandated reporters cannot be dismissed or otherwise penalized for making a report or for cooperating with an investigation.

Strict state and federal confidentiality laws govern child protective services investigations.  The identity of a reporting person is confidential under the law, but is subject to disclosure only with the reporter’s consent, by the judicial process or by those individuals designated in the Child Protection Law.

Patrick R. Sturdy is a partner in our Livonia office where he concentrates his practice on education law, employment and labor law, corporate and business law, and intellectual property. He may be reached at (734) 261-2400 or psturdy@cmda-law.com.