You would think that will all of the awareness campaigns, and new legislation being passed in recent years, that cases of child abuse and neglect would be declining in Michigan. But according to child advocacy experts around the state, that unfortunately isn’t the case. Child abuse, it seems is on the rise in Michigan.
Wait, what? Child abuse is getting worse?
Yes it is, and not just in the Mitten State. According to the American Society for The Positive Treatment of Children, the numbers have been creeping up every year all over the country. The Children’s Bureau‘s most recent Child Maltreatment report, published in 2017, shows an increase in child abuse referrals from 3.6 million to 4 million. The report also shows an increase in abuse and and neglect related child deaths, from 1,508 to 1,670 in only one year.
Who is said to be committing the abuse and neglect?
In addition to tracking fatalities, providing stats on abuse around the nation, and providing suggested preventative measures, the report also provides information on the perpetrators of abuse. The facts make for interesting, if heartbreaking reading. Here is some of the data provided on the people who are listed as the perpetrators of child abuse and neglect in the U.S.:
- More than four-fifths (83.4%) of perpetrators were between 18–44 years of age, with the 25–34 age group having the highest rate.
- More than one-half (53.7%) of perpetrators were women, and 45.3 percent of perpetrators were men. (1.0 percent were of unknown sex.)
- The three largest percentages of perpetrators (by race) were:
African-American (20.0%), and
- The majority (77.6%) of perpetrators were a parent of their victim, while 6.2 percent of perpetrators were a relative other than a parent.
What are the factors that contribute to child abuse?
Ask around about what contributes to child abuse and you’ll get as many answers as people you speak to. Everything from ‘child entitlement’ to ‘the increase in single parents’ is mentioned. But the data shows a different picture. Here are the three most common reasons behind instances of child abuse in the U.S.:
- Alcohol abuse
- Drug abuse
- Domestic violence
So what can be done about it? How can we stem the tide?
In a nutshell, there are two things that can be offered to address the issue: prevention services, and post response services. The former is what agencies can offer communities and families when a higher risk of abuse or neglect has been assessed, while the latter is what can be done after the abuse has already happened. Obviously, prevention services are preferable, because they help keep families together, and reduce the chances that children will be abused or neglected.
Unfortunately Michigan CPS doesn’t have a great track record with prevention services, prefering to split families up at the least sign of trouble. But we are slowly making tracks on this issue. The courts are getting better at recognizing that kids do better when kept with their parents, and there are signs that some CPS workers recognize the positive effects of supporting families instead of tearing them apart. But the battle isn’t over, and we have a long way to go.
Have you been accused of child abuse or neglect in Michigan?
If you or a loved one have been accused of child abuse or neglect in Michigan, our skilled child abuse defense attorneys are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help. We have successfully defended many parents over the years, and handled many false accusation cases, and have achieved successful results time and again for our clients. Call 866 766 5245 to discuss your situation with someone today. We are here to help.