What does it mean for CPS to
“substantiate” claims of child abuse
or neglect?

When CPS hears about suspected abuse or neglect of a child, they investigate the situation. CPS must determine whether or not there is child abuse or neglect. Once CPS makes this determination, they classify the situation into one of the following categories:

Category V: CPS determines there is no evidence of child abuse or neglect and thus no services are needed.

Category IV: CPS determines there is not a preponderance of the evidence of child abuse or neglect (meaning it is not likely child abuse or neglect is occurring), but the family-decision making could potentially result in future harm to the child, so services are recommended.

Category III: CPS determines there is a preponderance of the evidence of child abuse or neglect (meaning it is more likely than not that the child abuse or neglect is occurring), but the family decision-making shows a low or moderate risk of future harm to the child, so services are needed. If the family does not voluntarily participate in the services, CPS could re-classify the case as Category II.

Category II: CPS determines there is evidence of child abuse or neglect, and that the family decision-making shows a high or intensive risk of future harm to the child, so services are required.

Category I: CPS determines there is evidence of child abuse or neglect and either (1) the child is not safe, (2) the case had been classified as a Category II, but the family does not participate in services, or (3) the child abuse or neglect involved criminal sexual conduct, felony assault, or First or Second Degree Child Abuse. Services are required.

Before 1999, for CPS to “substantiate” a child abuse or neglect case meant for them to classify the case under Category II or Category I. Now, the correct terminology in Michigan is that the case is a “central registry case” if CPS classifies it under Category II or Category I. As a practical matter, terms change frequently in both the law and in DHS policy. Today both of these terms are used frequently.

The important thing to remember is that if the CPS worker determines by a preponderance of evidence (more likely than not) that neglect or abuse has occurred, the parent will be placed on the central registry and the allegation will be considered substantiated.

If you find yourself in needed of competent legal guidance on a matter involving an allegation of child abuse or neglect, please contact one of the attorneys at Kronzek & Cronkright, PLLC. We have extensive experience in dealing with CPS investigations. Call us at 1-(866)-346-5879.