Michigan Child Abuse Laws

Physical, emotional, or sexual abuse of a child is considered a serious crime under most state child abuse laws. Additionally, most states have what are known as "mandatory reporter" laws, which require certain professionals (such as doctors, teachers, and church clergy) with regular access to children to report signs of abuse to the proper authorities. Michigan child abuse law, for example, also lists counselors and social workers as mandatory reporters.

Child Abuse and Child Neglect

Both child abuse and child neglect are illegal in Michigan. Child neglect means negligent treatment of a child, including the failure to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, or medical care.

What Agency Is Responsible For Investigating Claims of Child Abuse in Michigan?

The Children's Protective Services (CPS) program is responsible for investigating allegations of child abuse and neglect.

The following chart summarizes Michigan child abuse laws and which adults are designated as mandatory reporters of abuse. See Child Abuse Overview for more general information about the crime.

Statute(s) Michigan Compiled Laws Section 750.136b
What Constitutes Child Abuse?

First degree child abuse: knowingly or intentionally causing serious physical or mental harm.

Second degree child abuse:

  • Neglecting a child or acting in a reckless manner that results in serious physical or mental harm;
  • Knowingly or intentionally committing an act that's likely to to cause serious physical or mental harm, regardless of whether harm actually results.
  • Knowingly or intentionally committing an act that's cruel, regardless of whether harm actually results.

Third degree child abuse:

  • Knowingly or intentionally causing physical harm; or
  • Knowingly or intentionally acting in a manner that poses an unreasonable risk of harm, which results in physical harm.

Fourth degree child abuse:

  • Neglecting a child or acting in a reckless manner that causes physical harm; or
  • Knowingly or intentionally committing an act that poses an unreasonable risk of harm, regardless of whether physical harm results.
Charges and Penalties

First degree child abuse is a felony punishable by a prison term up to and including life.

Second degree child abuse is a felony punishable by not more than 10 years in prison for the first offense, and not more than 20 years in prison for subsequent offenses.

Third degree child abuse is felony punishable by not more than 2 years in prison.

Fourth degree child abuse is a misdemeanor punishable by not more than 1 year in prison.

Related Statute(s) Michigan Compiled Laws Section 722.61, et seq. (Child Protection Law)
Mandatory Reporting Required By Listed in Section 722.623
Penalties for Failure to Report or False Reporting

Failure to Report by Mandatory Reporter:

  • Civilly liable for proximately caused damages.
  • Guilty of misdemeanor punishable by 93 days in jail and/or fine of not more than $100.

Intentionally Making a False Report:

  • If abuse would constitute misdemeanor or wouldn't constitute a crime if the report were true: it's a misdemeanor punishable by not more than 93 days in jail and/or a fine of not more than $100.
  • If abuse would constitute felony if the report were true: it's a felony punishable by either the penalty of the child abuse or not more than 4 years in prison and/or a fine of not more than $2,000 (whichever is the lesser penalty).

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Research the Law

Michigan Child Abuse Laws: Related Resources

Charged with Child Abuse in Michigan? Get Legal Help

Child abuse is a serious crime that can not only land you in jail, but also lead you to lose custody of your child. If you've been charged with child abuse under Michigan's laws, it's in your best interests to speak to a local criminal defense attorney to learn about your rights and options.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.