It takes a village to end child abuse

We read with great concern News staff writer Crystal Nelson’s recent report that the rates of children living in families investigated for abuse or neglect had skyrocketed over the last decade.

That rate more than doubled in Presque Isle and Alcona counties, nearly doubled in Alpena County, and shot up in Montmorency County. Those increases far outpaced the statewide rate hike, according to the annual Kids Count Data Book released this week.

The rate of confirmed victims of child abuse or neglect also increased in Presque Isle and Montmorency counties.

It’s important to note that most cases involving the state’s Child Protective Services do not involve physical or sexual abuse. In those cases that do, the only appropriate response is to immediately remove the child or children into safer environments and, we’d argue, fully criminally prosecute the perpetrators.

Most CPS cases involve neglect, which involves parents allowing their children to fall into unsafe situations, such as not watching them properly, allowing the children to witness drug abuse, or allowing the children to live in unsafe or unhygienic conditions. In those cases, parents often can learn to do better, get support to kick an addiction, or tap into resources to improve their living conditions.

And, in those cases, each of us can play a role. We can volunteer to babysit so parents can land a better job. We can show support so parents can get off drugs. Maybe we can help fix a car or repair a leaky roof.

It really does take a village to raise a child. If one of your neighbor’s in need, lend a hand. It helps the kids, as well as them.


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