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Gov. Whitmer Announces Wyatt’s Law Updates to Child Abuse and Neglect Registry Now in Effect to Protect Children, Empower Parents


November 1, 2022  



Gov. Whitmer Announces Wyatt’s Law Updates to Child Abuse and Neglect Registry Now in Effect to Protect Children, Empower Parents 

Changes improve registry to track offenders more accurately, keep kids and communities safe 


LANSING, Mich. — Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced that stronger protections are now in place for kids, thanks 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 goes into effect today.  


“As governor, there is no greater responsibility than keeping our kids safe,” said Governor Whitmer. “Earlier this year, I signed the bipartisan Wyatt’s Law, which improves this statewide registry to protect kids from abuse. Today, Michigan’s registry for child abuse is easier for the public to access so they can keep their kids safe at home, at school, and everywhere in between. I am proud that we got this done, and it is proof of what’s possible when we work across the aisle to keep our kids and communities safe. Let’s keep collaborating to protect public safety and help our kids succeed.” 


“MDHHS will continue to work tirelessly to protect the safety and well-being of Michigan children,” said Elizabeth Hertel, director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. “Parents should not have to worry that their children are in danger when they are with another caregiver.” 


“It is with the hard work of so many people, both across the aisle and across many years, that this law takes effect,” said Rep. Kevin Hertel (D-St. Clair Shores). “I am so grateful to have been able to do my part. I want to take a moment to say thank you to Erica Hammel, Wyatt’s mother, who worked tirelessly for change and a better and more secure Michigan. The health and well-being of the people I represent is my top concern. Michigan children, communities and families will be safer because of Wyatt’s Law.”  


Wyatt’s Law 

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. 


Beginning today, the new 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. Additionally, the system would ensure changes to the registry to keep it current with the new, stronger guidelines.