LANSING — State Rep. Kevin Hertel (D-St. Clair Shores), Democratic vice chairman of the House Oversight Committee, today called for hearings to investigate the serious concerns found in an auditor general’s report on Michigan’s Child Protective Services (CPS) Office.
“What this audit has revealed is deeply troubling, and it is our responsibility to hold hearings now to ensure that CPS has the resources to do its job and protect children,” said Hertel. “We need to get to the bottom of this to ensure our laws are adequately enforced and the public servants who work to protect vulnerable children have the resources they need to do their job.”
The report released yesterday found CPS failed to perform a number of required actions including criminal background checks, contacting mandatory reporters when investigating abuse, and conducting investigations within the required timeframe. The audit also found that many of the agency’s investigators fear for their safety during field investigations. The latter is particularly troubling in light of the murder of Macomb County CPS worker Lisa Putman in 1998 by members of a family she was visiting and working with. Lisa’s Law was passed and took effect in 2001. That law, and subsequent laws passed later, require training for CPS workers, the use of a “buddy system” in riskier situations, and require the Department of Health and Human Services request law enforcement assistance in unsafe situations.