LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Jim Runestad announced Wednesday that he has requested the state’s Office of the Auditor General investigate Children’s Protective Services as serious concerns continue to grow with the troubled agency.
“On July 14, I participated in a listening session held in Oakland County with fellow lawmakers. During the event, families shared how CPS failed to properly investigate reports of abuse and neglect,” said Runestad, R-White Lake, in his letter to Michigan Auditor General Doug Ringler.
During the Protect MI Kids listening session, families shared their experiences with CPS and the Hawthorn Center, Michigan’s only state-run psychiatric hospital for minors. Both agencies are administered through the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
Recent media reports have also brought serious issues to light concerning CPS, including a recent in-depth investigative report by The Detroit News.
“The stories we are hearing over and over again are beyond heartbreaking; this isn’t how these agencies are supposed to work,” Runestad said. “We must ensure that CPS is held accountable for its failings and that serious deficiencies are corrected so it can properly serve the vulnerable young people who it is meant to help; children’s lives are literally at risk here.”
CPS was last audited by the OAG in 2018. That report found several deficiencies, including timeframes for starting investigations and meeting face-to-face with alleged child victims, registry documentation, criminal background check completions, and investigations referrals to county prosecutors.
Runestad is requesting an updated performance audit of CPS that includes reviews of the following areas:
- Deficient timeframes for starting CPS investigations.
- Deficient documentation surrounding the Central Registry.
- Deficient completion of criminal background checks
Earlier this year, Runestad held a press conference to highlight concerns with CPS following the tragic death of a 5-year-old Lincoln Park boy. He also introduced Senate Bill 53 to increase oversight and transparency into CPS.