LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – A shocking report uncovers that “Child Protective Services” in the state of Michigan has an alarming number of deficiencies.
The report was released by the state “Office of the Auditor General” on Thursday today and found that CPS neglected to launch and complete investigations within required time-frames and failed to complete criminal background checks.
The report also reveals countless concerning deficiencies that include failing to complete face-to-face interactions with child victims in a timely manner, not referring investigations to prosecutors and neglecting to accurately assess a child’s risk of harm.
The “Michigan Department of Health and Human Services” (MDHHS) oversees the “Children’s Protective Services” program in the state.
CPS then investigates all allegations of child abuse and neglect and must follow a list of requirements.
However, the audit released by the state “Office of the Auditor General found that CPS is not always following its own rule book.
“We’re very serious about taking corrective action. We’ve already taken corrective action,” said Bob Wheaton; Spokesman for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
One of the red flags highlighted in the report is the improper documentation of central registry cases, including not adding all confirmed cases of abuse to that registry.
It’s an issue Wheaton agrees needs to be fixed.
“It’s important to document all this stuff but it’s not necessarily something that would put the safety of a child in jeopardy so yes we do need to improve,” Wheaton stated.
The audit also revealed that CPS failed to properly complete required background checks.
“That’s one of those areas where we recognize fully that we need to improve, we need to implement corrective action, we need to have meetings with our staff at the local level to just make sure they’re entirely clear on what processes need to be followed,” said Wheaton.
But despite the findings, Wheaton says he doesn’t want this report to tarnish the reputation of “Child Protective Services” and MDHHS is working to move forward.
“We’re working to do a better job of protecting the safety and well-being of children and we’ve been doing that throughout this auditing process and we’ll continue to do that,” said Wheaton.
Wheaton says MDHHS agrees with the majority of the report except the finding that says that CPS fails to monitor a family’s participation after an investigation was conducted.
Wheaton says the “Child Protection Law” gives CPS the discretion to determine whether they need to continue monitoring a family and if the children are still at risk.
The department must now submit a compliance plan within two months to address these issues highlighted in the report.
6 News will be sure to keep you updated on any new developments.