2019 Kids Count in Michigan Data Book: Child abuse, neglect on rise

Study: Michigan continues to see alarming increase in child abuse, neglect

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan continues to see an alarming increase in child abuse and neglect, with cases up 29.5 percent since 2012, according to the 2019 Kids Count in Michigan Data Book released Tuesday by the Michigan League for Public Policy. 

Almost half a million Michigan kids, roughly 1 in 5, are still living in poverty. This is despite a 20.6 percent drop in the state’s child poverty rate. 

“The Kids Count data book has been working to draw attention to pervasive child poverty for years, as 1 in 5 kids is still unacceptable, and it’s even higher for kids of color,” said Alicia Guevara Warren, Kids Count in Michigan project director. “Plus, the alarming increase in child abuse and neglect, which is impacting our youngest children the most, underscores the urgency of the issues facing our kids.”

“We can address these challenges early and holistically, as the book contains concrete recommendations for policymakers to improve the lives of kids and families, including proven home visitation programs that help support families as they navigate the challenges we all face in parenthood.” Said Warren.

This is the 27th year for the Kids Count in Michigan data book.  The information analyzes and evaluates the well-being of children in the state and its communities, and identifies policy recommendations to improve outcomes for kids. 

The 2019 book primarily compares data from 2012 to 2017 and analyzes 16 key indicators across four domains. 

Economic Security: The state saw big drops in children ages 0-17 in poverty and kids 5 and under in the Food Assistance Program, but the overall number (416,305) and percentage (19.6 percent) of kids living in poverty remains staggering. 

Health and Safety: Expectant mothers not receiving adequate prenatal care continues to be an area of concern with that rate increasing 10.6 percent, and low-birthweight babies, infant mortality and child/teen deaths have leveled off. 

Family and Community: The rates of investigated and confirmed cases of abuse and neglect both went up almost one-third, and children in out-of-home care increased as well. Michigan saw a 30.9 percent reduction in teen births. 

Education: One in 5 high school students are still not graduating on time, despite a 16.6 percent drop in the rate, and fewer Michigan kids are in preschool, proficient in third-grade reading or college ready. 

The 2019 Kids Count in Michigan Data Book also analyzes and ranks 82 of the 83 counties for overall child well-being (Keweenaw County lacks sufficient data). 

The overall child well-being rank is based on a county’s rank in 14 of the 16 measures; infant mortality and child and teen deaths are excluded as many counties do not have sufficient data on those two indicators. 

The top five counties for child well-being in 2019 are:

1. Livingston 
2. Clinton 
3. Washtenaw 
4. Ottawa 
5. Oakland 

The bottom five counties in 2019 are:

82. Lake (82nd)
81. Alcona 
80. Luce
79. Muskegon
78. Manistee 

In order to make this year’s data book as bright and vibrant as Michigan’s kids, Kids Count and the Michigan League for Public Policy asked children from around the state to submit artwork to show “what it’s like to be a kid in Michigan.” Nearly 100 entries were submitted and many are featured throughout the book. 

You can see the entire book here.

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