The American Human Rights Council (AHRC-USA) calls upon community organizations, especially social services and legal- aid services organizations, to promote community awareness regarding the laws and regulations pertaining to child welfare and the DHS (Department of Human Services) Protective Service. AHRC extends this public announcement in light of a number of recent cases where families had their children placed in temporary foster care facilities pending further court proceedings. These cases seem to have risen from ignorance of Michigan’s laws and regulations related to children’s welfare and care. The families’ encounter with DHS and its unfamiliar system is causing several families immense stress as they seek to regain custody of their children. We realize that parents need to be educated about the laws and regulations on what the law of the state deems child abuse and child neglect so they can be equipped with knowledge of what the law requires of them. Ignorance of the law is rarely a defense and community social services organizations are called upon to double their education and outreach efforts.
AHRC is alarmed by the recent increase in the number of cases of children removed from their families. AHRC calls upon the DHS to conduct fair, transparent and thorough investigations regarding any claim and/or tip received and to consider facts and evidence. Fairness and the best interest of the families and the children come first and rushing to judgment influenced by stereotypes is unfair and harmful to the mission of DHS. AHRC considers family unity a human right and will be monitoring these cases closely.
“Family unity is a human right. It is indeed heart breaking to witness cases where families are torn apart due to unfortunate circumstances,” said Imad Hamad, AHRC Executive Director. “This is not a new challenge before the community. We need to educate families on the law and help the families in proceedings navigate the encounter with the state system so that they are treated fairly and their rights are fully respected,” continued Hamad.