How Effective is Michigan's Child Abuse Hotline?

By: Fay Li Email
By: Fay Li Email

The Michigan Department of Human Services (DHS) calls it one number, one call. They say it's about the ease of reporting abuse and neglect to one place and receiving a standard response.

"We had a significant range [of investigations] in the counties. It's leveled off at about 61%. Historically it would range anywhere between 30% or 83%," said Steve Yager, DHS Director of Children Services.

That means, on average, 61% of cases reported to the hotline end up being investigated.

"I think when you make good decisions on the front end that's always going to impact families in a positive way on the back end," Yager said.

However, the Michigan League for Public Policy says it's not enough to be simply reactive

"We have a situation where after the abuse or neglect occurs, then we refer the family to services, but the damage has been done," said Jane Zehnder-Merrell, Kids Count Project Director.

According to the new kids count report, the number of child abuse and neglect cases continues to rise across the state. DHS argues numbers don't show the complete picture.


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