The new Kids Count report is out, and things are not looking good for kids in Michigan. You would think with the recession now a few years behind us that economic trends would be on an upswing, but that doesn't appear to be the case. I'll break down the report into three sections: The Good, The Bad, and the Stagnant.
Usually we think of childhood trauma in terms of the social and emotional issues that can manifest later in life. Which certainly are significant. But what we’re learning now is that exposure to early adversity has significant impacts on physical health outcomes, and represents a public health crisis.
Try to imagine this. It’s a sunny Saturday afternoon. Beautiful day.
You’re hiking alone in the forest. And then you hear some rustling leaves behind you.
Child abuse and neglect appear to be increasing in Michigan. A new report from the Michigan League for Public Policy says more than 33,000 children in Michigan were victims of abuse or neglect in 2011. That’s an 18 percent increase compared to 2005.
There is a dispute over the exact size of the increase.
"We’re not saying that there isn’t an uptick," says Dave Akerly, spokesman for the Michigan Department of Human Services. "We’re saying that from our standpoint, we believe that the uptick isn’t as dramatic as it would appear to be."
He says the numbers in the Michigan League report are a little misleading because a lot changed at DHS between 2005 and 2011. One of the things that changed is how cases get reported.
So, Akerly says instead of there being a huge increase in abuse and neglect, we may just be seeing a more accurate picture of abuse and neglect.
And no matter how you look at that, it’s an ugly picture.