Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox is calling for changes in the state’s Child Protection Law that would make exposing children to domestic violence tantamount to mental or emotional child abuse, says the Detroit Free Press. Cox wants to work with legislators to change policies after case of Ricky Holland, 7, who was killed by his parents.
Cox wants police officers responding to domestic violence situations where children are present to report that to state officials even if the children were not the direct victims of the violence. Child abuse investigators would be required to investigate such reports within 24 hours. Kathy Hagenian of the Michigan Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violation cautioned lawmakers about linking domestic violence to the Child Protection Law. She said victims of domestic violence — often mothers of young children — are re-victimized when Child Protective Services becomes involved. She said domestic violence victims are often labeled unfit parents because they can’t protect themselves or their children from a spouse or live-in partner. Minnesota passed similar changes in child protection laws several years ago, she said, and then rescinded them because so many parents who were victims of domestic violence saw children removed from their care.