Lansing, MIApril 6, 2017 – Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is today recognizing April as Child Abuse Prevention Month and encouraging residents to familiarize themselves with indicators of child abuse and to report it if they suspect a child is in danger.

“Children often cannot speak for themselves and when something as horrific as child abuse is happening, they cannot or do not know how to get help, said Schuette. “If you suspect a child is being abused, say something, report it, it just might save that child’s life. It is our job to protect children who do not have a voice.”

Department of Attorney General Children and Youth Services Division

Schuette’s Children and Youth Services Division provides legal advice and representation to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services in litigation and appellate work involving child abuse and neglect cases in Wayne County.

Last year the division handled 1,135 petitions requesting court intervention for 2,107 children who were victims of abuse and neglect. The division handled 9,554 court hearings regarding these children and conducted 1,025 trials on their behalf.

Mandated Child Abuse Reporters

The Michigan Child Protection Law requires certain people, including teachers, health care professionals and law enforcement, to report their suspicions of child abuse or neglect to Children’s Protective Services. View the Mandated Reporter’s Resource Guide for more information.

Signs of Abuse And Neglect

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has indicated the following as possible indicators of abuse and 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: Self-destructive/self-mutilation, 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.

Who do I call to report suspected child abuse?

Cases of abuse or neglect should be reported to local law enforcement or the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Anyone, including a child, who suspects child abuse or neglect, can make a report to MDHHS by calling 855-444-3911.

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