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New report says child abuse and neglect cases are up in Michigan

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Michigan League for Public Policy|2019 KIDS COUNT DATA BOOK: MICHIGAN KIDS DEMAND ACTION ON POLICY SOLUTIONS TO IMPROVE THEIR WELL-BEING, ADDRESS ONGOING CHALLENGES
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Officials are calling the 2019 Kids Count in Michigan Report a “mixed bag.”

The good news is Michigan saw a decrease in teen pregnancy rates and increased high school graduations since 2012. However, the report also saw a thirty percent increase in child abuse and neglect cases.

 

Officials said a number of factors impacted the increase in cases. The opioid crisis and poverty are impacting children, but they said the biggest change was the result of a change in policy.

 

In 2012, Michigan introduced a toll-free number for reporting child abuse and neglect, and the calls came in to a centralized intake system that processed complaints more efficiently.

 

Kids Count Project Director, Alicia Guevara Warren with the Michigan League for Public Policy  said the change in policy helped make it easier to address abuse and neglect cases.

 

“From that policy change we saw more reports, more investigations that were initiated, and as a result we saw more children confirmed as victims.”

 

Guevara Warren said the system allows for better reporting and action on child abuse and neglect cases. However, she said more needs to happen to prevent abuse and neglect cases in Michigan.

 

“We really want to encourage people to use this information to develop local strategies, to have conversations with policy makers, and for policy makers themselves to use this. It is really about using the data to drive our decision making and do the best that we can to support our kids.”

 

The full Kids Count in Michigan report is available here.