Child Welfare

Tribal Court Child Welfare Cases.

MILS staff may provide representation for parents and Indian custodians, who are members of federally recognized tribes in tribal court if 1) court appointed counsel is not available to them, or 2) because of the lack of attorneys available to take appointments, the chief judge or court administrator requests MILS provide services in that court. 

MILS staff may serve as the guardian ad litem or attorney on behalf of minor children in tribal court proceedings if requested by a parent or tribal staff with authority to act on behalf of the children.

MILS may aid with related legal issues for current tribal court child welfare clients. 

State Court - Indian Child Welfare Act-Michigan Indian Family Preservation Act.

MILS staff may provide legal assistance to members of federally recognized tribes, who are also the biological relatives of the subject child(ren), in Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) or Michigan Indian Family Preservation Act (MIFPA) cases in:

1. state trial courts if court-appointed counsel is not available; 

2. state appellate courts; and  

3. seeking guardianship under state law, as long as the tribal member parent(s) either do not oppose the guardianship or are deceased. 

  MILS attorneys may provide representation for relatives of Indian Children who have been removed or kept from their homes through a state court action and who are seeking to become placements or adoptive homes for those children. 

MILS staff may assist clients in expunging their placement on the Central Child Abuse and Neglect Registry if they are seeking to become a relative or foster care placement or if it interferes with their ability to gain employment. 

MILS may be able to help you seek removal from Central Registry.

Step 1 - Check if you are on the central registry. If you have been placed on the central registry, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) must notify you. Once you have received confirmation that you are listed on the central registry, you can submit a request for information regarding your placement on the registry.

Step 2 - If you are on the Central Registry, you can request information about your placement on the central registry. You can obtain information regarding cases involving you or your child by filing a written request with your local MDHHS office. If you were a part of CPS investigations in multiple counties, you must make a request with the MDHHS office of each county where the investigations occurred. You can use this written letter request format as a guide to obtaining information in your case. 

Step 3 - Review your eligibility for removal from the central registry. If you are listed on the central registry, you may be removed for several reasons: 

Step 4 - Request removal. You may ask for your name to be removed from the central registry by submitting a written request to your local MDHHS office. You must provide information to overcome the presumption that you are a danger to children. The request must be mailed to the local office(s) that substantiated the complaint against you. Within 30 days of receiving the written request, the local office must review the case record, determine the appropriate action and inform you of its decision by mail. If the local office determines that the presumption is unreasonable, you will be removed from the central registry.

Step 5 - If the department denies the request for an amendment and/or expunction of a report or record, an administrative hearing will be requested by the Expungement Unit. An expungement analyst will put together a report that is sent to the Michigan Office of Administrative Hearing and Rules (MOAHR). MOAHR will then decide whether to approve or deny the request, and a hearing will be scheduled. If you have been scheduled for a hearing and would like a lawyer to review your case, please contact us at (231) 947-0122. We may be able to help you. 

picture of Group in front of flags at document signing