By Kevyn Collier-Roberts
Listen Up Lansing Staff Reporter
Rates of child abuse and neglect remain high in Ingham County. And over the past few years, Michigan has seen a rise in statistics related to child neglect and poverty.
According to a 2014 Michigan League for Public Policy map 22.6 percent of children between the ages of 0-17 are in poverty within the state of Michigan, with 23.7 percent of those children living in poverty in Ingham County.
Cases of confirmed victims of child abuse increased from 927 in 2006 to 1,612 in 2012. There was a sudden decrease in confirmed victims during the year 2014 but the rate was still rather high compared to other counties including Clinton and Eaton. Both of their child abuse and/or neglect cases were lower than 400.
Studies provided by the Michigan League for Public Policy revealed that blacks including Hispanics had the highest rate of 42.7 percent of confirmed victims who had been neglected and/or abused between the ages 0-17 in the year 2013. Whites followed behind blacks with 23.8 percent of abused and/or neglected children under the age of 18.
After further research it has been noticed that child neglect and/or abuse along with child poverty go hand in hand. If you take a look at any studies conducted by Kids Count in Michigan, the Department of Human Services, etc. you will notice the a correlation of the two. Most statistics of child abuse and/or neglect are followed by statistics of poverty.
Since the year 2006, Ingham County child poverty rates risen by 38 percent.
Over time there has been an increase in cases of child abuse and/or neglect in Michigan due to a lack of budget for neglect and abuse prevention. With a decrease in funding for prevention programs, the child abuse rates have only made a slight decrease.
One of the contributing factors presented by advocates against child neglect and/or abuse is the lack of assistance with childcare due to an increase in welfare recipients.
Without the commitment and assistance from legislators it is rather challenging for issues like these to be prevented. This not only has an impact on future families within the county but it also has an impact on the child within the current household.
One way to prevent child poverty and child abuse and/or neglect is to address the issue prematurely before children are enrolled in school. If legislation could adequately and equally fund prevention programs like Families First and Strong Families, Safe Children just as they do for child protective services programs, then that could be a great step forward for ceasing the increase of child abuse and poverty statistics as a whole within the state of Michigan.