Child Abuse & Child Neglect
Michigan has very strong child protection statutes which provide protection for children through civil Child Protection Proceedings and through criminal prosecution of Child Abuse crimes. These statutes mandate that both the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services - Child Protective Services (MDHHS / CPS) and the local police cooperate to investigate all suspect abuse and neglect to determine whether a civil child protection petition needs to be filed, whether criminal prosecution of a child abuser needs to be sought, or both.
Children Need Adults to Report
Unfortunately, despite these strong statutes, they are only as strong as the information that is reported to the authorities. During the period of social distancing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, during periods of crisis and economic instability, child abuse and neglect rates increase. However at the same time reports of child abuse or neglect in Michigan have declined. This is because children were not in school, going to activities like worship services, after-school programs, or other places where adults could look out for the children's safety and well-being. Without the ability to disclose to adults, much abuse has gone unreported. That is why it is important to remember, if you see something, say something.
If you suspect that a child is being abused or neglected, call the MDHHS centralized intake hotline at 855-444-3911 to report your suspicions. A specially trained operator will take the information and make a determination whether the matter needs to be reported to CPS, the police, or both. Some indicators of abuse or neglect are listed here.