(by Zen Gardner) MICHIGAN — Hundreds of thousands of parents have been flagged as “child abusers” in a huge database maintained in secret by Michigan’s Child Protective Services (CPS) agency. The names are entered into the database without due process, without a judicial hearing, without an opportunity for defense, without a conviction, and without even letting the individuals know they have been targeted.
The list is called the Michigan Child Abuse and Neglect Central Registry. It reportedly contains the names of 275,000 “abusive” parents currently in that state alone, as WXYZ reported.
Most people on the list have no idea they have been put there. They have not received convictions, a trial, or even notification.
Getting on the CPS database is like a scarlet letter that can negatively affect the lives of those who have blacklisted. Many good names have been smeared through unproven allegations.
“I can’t foster, I can’t get a job anywhere, and background check, I can’t get a job,” said Helen Miller of Battle Creek, who had been unfairly labeled a child abuser.
The list has grown so large because CPS staffers can enter names easily — “by the push of a button” as Warren described — with no oversight. Meanwhile, it is very difficult for a flagged person to get his or her name removed.
Current law is set up to keep the names on the list for life. The only recourse is for the accused person to go before a judge and attempt to prove his or her innocence — since the guilt has already been assigned in the eyes of the state.