One of the most troubling statistics to members of Genesee County has been and is continuing to be the rate of child abuse and neglect. The state average in 2008 was 1.2% with flint coming in fifth to last in Michigan counties with a 1.9% rate according to kids count. This startling statistic coupled with the fact that the amount of children in investigated homes was up from 11,602 in 2000 to 14,694 in 2008 means that simple numbers of confirmation cannot account for the 35% increase of investigations. The reality is simply this, Genesee county is continuing to struggle as one the worst counties in the state with child abuse and neglect.
How to spot potential child abuse or neglect:
Physical Neglect - Physical Indicators
- Unattended medical needs.
- Lack of supervision.
- Regular signs of hunger, inappropriate dress, poor hygiene.
- Distended stomach, emaciated.
- Significant weight change.
Physical Neglect - Behavioral Indicators
- Regularly displays fatigue or listlessness, falls asleep in class.
- Steals/hoards food, begs from classmates.
- Reports that no caretaker is at home.
Physical Abuse - Physical Indicators
- Unexplained bruises (in various stages of healing), welts, loop marks.
- Adult/human bite marks.
- Bald spots or missing clumps of hair.
- Unexplained burns/scalds.
- Unexplained fractures, skin lacerations/punctures or abrasions.
- Swollen lips/chipped teeth.
- Linear/parallel marks on cheeks and temple area.
- Crescent-shaped bruising.
- Puncture wounds.
- Bruising behind the ears.
Physical Abuse - Behavioral Indicators
- Withdrawn and/or aggressive-behavior extremes.
- Uncomfortable/skittish with physical contact.
- Arrives at school late or stays late as if afraid to be at home.
- Chronic runaway (adolescents).
- Complains of soreness or moves uncomfortably.
- Wears clothing inappropriate to weather, to cover body.
- Lack of impulse control (e.g. inappropriate outbursts).
Sexual Abuse - Physical indicators
- Pain or itching in genital area.
- Bruises or bleeding in genital area.
- Sexually transmitted disease.
- Frequent urinary or yeast infections.
- Extreme or sudden weight change.
- Pregnancy under 12 years of age.
Sexual Abuse - Behavioral Indicators
- Withdrawal, chronic depression.
- Sexual behaviors or references that are unusual for the child's age.
- Seductive or promiscuous behavior.
- Poor self-esteem, self-devaluation, lack of confidence.
- Suicide attempts (especially adolescents).
- Hysteria, lack of emotional control.
What to do about suspected child abuse:
Child abuse can be reported by any individual including children who suspect abuse or neglect is occurring. The report remains confidential and is handled based on previous reports and the severity of the new report. Every report is reviewed and dealt with appropriately.
You can report abuse by calling 1-800-942-4357
or you can contact your local DHS office
In 2007 in Genesee County there were 2,113 confirmed victims of abuse and/or neglect of children ages 0-17
Of These victims 889 were between the ages of 0-5
In 2002 Genesee county ranked 76 out of 83 for the the rate of confirmed victims in all counties in Michigan
In 2000 the incidence of child abuse and neglect in Genesee County was nearly double the state average
80% of reported cases of confirmed abuse and/or neglect in Genesee county in 2008 were victimized by either a parent or step-parent
In 128 of the confirmed cases of 2008 the child was exposed to criminal drug activity including manufacturing of illicit drugs exposing the children to significant health and environmental hazards