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Criminal Justice & Legal System

New online toolkit for those involved in child abuse cases

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Michiganradio.org
The Michigan Supreme Court will hear the case of a woman who spent 43 days in jail for nonpayment of child support, despite the fact she had been declared totally disabled by the Social Security Administration because of her mental illness.

Judges, attorneys and families involved in child abuse and neglect cases can now get information about the legal process in a single place online.

A division of the Michigan Supreme Court designed the new online toolkit.

Marcia McBrien is a court spokeswoman.

“They’re complex cases, they’re very difficult,” she said. “They’re very fact intensive. So judges and attorneys who are handling these cases really need to be well educated and to know what they’re doing.”

McBrien says a lot of judges and attorneys who never used to handle child abuse cases are now.

That’s because of a couple of factors.

The market for lawyers has become more competitive and courts have been consolidating.

The hope is that the online toolkit will help children get placed in the right homes more quickly.

The state investigated more than 90,000 complaints of child abuse or neglect in 2012. 

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