Michigan Definition of Child Abuse and Neglect

Physical Abuse: Citation: Comp. Laws §§ 722.622; 722.628(3)(c)
'Child abuse' means harm or threatened harm to a child's health or welfare that occurs through nonaccidental physical or mental injury, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, or maltreatment by a parent, a legal guardian, or any other person responsible for the child's health or welfare or by a teacher, a teacher's aide, or a member of the clergy.

'Severe physical injury' means an injury to the child that requires medical treatment or hospitalization and that seriously impairs the child's health or physical well-being.

Neglect: Citation: Comp. Laws § 722.622
'Child neglect' means harm or threatened harm to a child's health or welfare, by a parent, legal guardian, or any other person responsible for the child's health or welfare, that occurs through either of the following:

  • Negligent treatment, including the failure to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, or medical care
  • Placing a child at an unreasonable risk to the child's health or welfare by failure to intervene to eliminate that risk when that person is able to do so and has, or should have, knowledge of the risk

Sexual Abuse/Exploitation: Citation: Comp. Laws § 722.622
'Sexual abuse' means engaging in sexual contact or sexual penetration with a child as those terms are defined in the penal code.

'Sexual exploitation' includes allowing, permitting, or encouraging a child to engage in prostitution, or allowing, permitting, encouraging, or engaging in photographing, filming, or depicting a child engaged in a sexual act.

Emotional Abuse: Citation: Comp. Laws § 722.622
The term 'child abuse' includes mental injury.

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Standards for Reporting: Citation: Comp. Laws § 722.623
A report is required when there is reasonable cause to suspect child abuse or neglect.

Persons Responsible for the Child: Citation: Comp. Laws § 722.622
A 'person responsible for the child's health or welfare' means a parent, legal guardian, person age 18 or older who resides for any length of time in the same home as the child, nonparent adult, or an owner, operator, volunteer, or employee of one or more of the following:

  • A licensed or registered child care organization
  • A licensed or unlicensed adult foster care family home or adult foster care small group home

'Nonparent adult' means a person who is age 18 or older and who, regardless of the person's domicile, meets all of the following criteria in relation to a child:

  • Has substantial and regular contact with the child
  • Has a close personal relationship with the child's parent or with a person responsible for the child's health or welfare
  • Is not the child's parent or a person otherwise related to the child by blood or affinity to the third degree

Exceptions: Citation: Comp. Laws § 722.634
A parent or guardian legitimately practicing his or her religious beliefs who thereby does not provide specified medical treatment for a child, for that reason alone shall not be considered a negligent parent or guardian. This section shall not preclude a court from ordering the provision of medical services or nonmedical remedial services recognized by State law to a child when the child's health requires it, nor does it abrogate the responsibility of a person required to report child abuse or neglect.