Wyatt's Law updates to Child Abuse and Neglect Registry now in effect

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recently announced that stronger protections are now in place for kids due to changes resulting from Wyatt’s Law to Michigan’s Central Registry for Child Abuse and Neglect.

In May, the governor signed the bipartisan bill to allow parents and child-caring employers, such as schools and child care facilities, to more easily get information on individual's history so they can better protect children. The law went into effect last Tuesday.  

Wyatt’s Law is named after Wyatt Rewoldt, a child who was abused by his father’s girlfriend, who had a previous history of child abuse.

His mother, Erica Hammel, has worked to get the law passed since 2014 so that parents could be made aware of past abuse by caregivers of their children.

The law provides greater access to the Central Registry for Child Abuse and Neglect, maintained by the MDHHS Children’s Services Agency.

Authorized organizations, such as schools and child care centers that seek employees or volunteers who work with children, will be able to get confirmation that a prospective employee or volunteer is on the registry if that person gives permission for the clearance.

Prior to the changes in Wyatt’s Law, MDHHS could only notify a requester if the person was not on the registry and could not confirm that someone was on it.

A parent or person responsible for a child who has reason to believe that another caregiver may place the child at risk can seek confirmation as to whether that person is on the registry. The request must be made to the appropriate local Friend of the Court office if the person has an active case.

If the requester does not have a Friend of the Court case, details will be available soon on the Central Registry page on the MDHHS website about how to make a request. The new law allows for someone to confirm registry placement for the child’s parent, caregiver, or other person responsible.

As of Nov. 1, the improvements to the Central Registry for Child Abuse and Neglect will ensure the system is frequently updated to include those who meet the criteria for inclusion on the list, such as people with confirmed histories of serious abuse and neglect, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, and/or methamphetamine production, according to the governor. Additionally, the system would ensure changes to the registry to keep it current with the new, stronger guidelines.


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