Few would argue that helping at risk children saves communities, taxpayers, and the child. Reading this article from the Detroit news indicates that some policy makers still don’t understand the relationship between healthy children and productive adults (or unhealthy children, preteen mothers and adolescent felons).

Last Updated: January 12. 2010 12:47PM
Child poverty, neglect on rise in Michigan
Catherine Jun / The Detroit News

Childhood poverty, neglect and abuse continue to rise in Michigan, troubling signs that children continue to bear the brunt of the state’s economic woes, according to a report released today.

Read more: http://www.detnews.com/article/20100112/METRO/1120362/1409/METRO/Child-poverty–neglect-on-rise-in-Michigan#ixzz0d4mLZOj4More than 40 percent of Michigan students were eligible and received free or reduced federal lunches in 2008, according to Kids Count in Michigan, a report released by the Michigan League of Human Services. That’s up from 30.7 percent in 2001.

Even in Oakland County, the state’s wealthiest county, more children (age 17 and younger) are falling into poverty: 11 percent compared with 8.6 percent in 2005.

Statewide, one in five children lives in poverty.

At the same time, many of the programs that serve as a safety net to families are being cut, said Jane Zehnder-Merrell, senior research associate at the League.

“The erosion of economic security has a huge impact on kids,” she said.

Poverty is tied to a 16 percent increase in confirmed cases of abuse and neglect since 2000, said Denise Glover, project director at the Child Care Coordinating Council of Detroit/Wayne County.

Glover said impoverished parents often cannot provide heat in their homes, often viewed as a measure of child neglect. Or they may take out their financial stress on their children.

“Tempers flair and the frustration levels increase,” she said. “Children become the victims.”
The report, which is based on the most current data available to the league, did find some positive trends, including a decline in childhood deaths — 18.9 deaths per 100,000 children ages 1 to 14, down from 23.1 in 2000.

Infant mortality also showed a decline — to 7.8 deaths per 1,000 infants from 8.1 in 2000. The rate of births to teens fell 20 percent over the decade.

Detroit recorded measurable improvements in childhood mortality, as well as in teen pregnancy rates and prenatal care since 2000.

Bill Ridella, deputy director of the city’s health department, credited the improvements to better coordination between health departments, school clinics and local hospitals in providing health education to teenagers.

But the city still rates worse than the state’s average on child health.

“The health of the women in our community remains an issue,” said Carolynn Rowland, the city’s maternal infant health director.

Amy Good, chief executive of Alternatives for Girls, said the data doesn’t show what has happened since 2007, when teen pregnancy began to increase after a steady decline.

The Detroit agency, which provides shelter for homeless and at-risk teens, lost state funding last year, which amounted to 6 percent of its budget. As a result, the nonprofit group only accepts homeless women.

“It’s a terrible thing to have to say to someone … call us when you’re homeless,” Good said.
In Macomb County, the rate of low birth-weight babies worsened, to 8.3 percent, from 6.8 percent in 2000.

A $1.83 million federal grant for an Early Head Start program hopefully will change that, said Laura Bracali, at the Macomb County Community Services Agency.

The program will prioritize high-risk mothers and infants, providing nurse visits, access to immunizations and providing counseling on nutrition.

“Those are part of our goals,” Bracali said.

cjun@detnews.com (313) 222-2019

Read more: http://www.detnews.com/article/20100112/METRO/1120362/1409/METRO/Child-poverty–neglect-on-rise-in-Michigan#ixzz0d4mXrQsV


  1. I married a man I thought was an honest forthright man, hard worker, good upbringing, only to find out he was mentally & physically abusive & suffered from sever depression & bi-polar episodes he was self-medicating for yrs. I tried to get him help it started with cocaine, then prescription drugs we thought he was clean & sober and he appeared so.. even to the state of michigan. they let us adopt my niece & nephew after my sister died & her husband was found negectful. My ex-husband had to take domestic violence classes & get off the drug xanax before we could adopt. He deceived me and the state bc he has always stayed on one drug or the other from vicodin to oxycontin to heroin to crack cocaine I put him in 5 to 6 rehabs trying to save him. I finally couldn’t take the lying the stealing all our belongings, even our kids bikes game stations, tv’s tols jewery ne thing pawnable for drugs, it didnt matter his last drug was taking with a needle intravenously. he stole from my brother to me to his mother, my mother, ne one to get drug money he spent his whole ss ck which is 1400 a mth on drugs and that wasnt enough. I divorced him 4 yrs ago thought he was finally sober only to find out hes been shooting u for the past 3 yrs. Now we have a 16 yr old very mentally disabled with no common sense or descision making skills. she cannot protect herself & her father has exposed her to drug houses and been really messed up around her lying to all of us the whole time. Now I have a no contact order bc he stole 500.00 from me and other electronic from my home,been doing this for yrs but could only press charges after divorced. He went to rehab to try to make his charges drop to a lesser charge this is his routine when he gets into trouble with the law. Now I havnt had to deal with him other then sneaky emails and sending messages to my older children which i ignored.. now he is trying to take me to court to change visitation. I called human services they investigated him & did a drug test only to find opiates well he has a script for opiates?? Now they tell me he can abuse all the drugs he wants theres nothing they can do.. even in front of our child? He is messing up her mind manipulating her, making her lie when he hangs with other heroine adicts. she has no room at his house he spend al money of drugs he lives in a nasty trailer in the worst part of town and is so messed up he doesnt know where our daughter is half the time. I am disabled physically and so is my daughter who can help me? They say he will take me to court for a current visitation change. I would like supervised visitation. I hear they do not order that ne more. I am the mother, I am suppose to protect he..r but they r saying i have to let her go with this man, even my-ex’es mother Valerie Ernest told me he has no business parenting a child. Human services say I need an attorney I cannot afford, is there any avenues for mentally handicapped children? federal advocates and legal help for me & my poor daughter? I am very upset & do not know where to turn! The school is letting him come there to see her during lunch. How can I protect her from this man when a child dies at the hand of a drug addicts father they blame the mother I have called the sherriff, human services twice & friend of the court twice… I feel helpless, Im scared everyday, my house is locked up like a fortress he has stolen all my expensive thing most my life I live in constant terror! Can I get any help anywhere?

  2. Surely, the understand can only go so far only since I am not the one living what you are. I can say that from example. My children’s father perpetrated the same acts of conduct. He and I were together for 12 years. During this time he introduced me to drugs; having an aunt who was heroin and knowing this, he felt he would test me. I decline and grew angry at him. When he conducted himself in such a way, smoking and drinking and such, I guarded my children the best way I knew how. Most days were spent behind the bedroom doors while he puff puff and passed to many of his friend. Nights when the children were asleep, I cry, I slept with knife under my pillow and the phone at my side. I lived in fear. I didn’t know he was like this early in the relationship. He phoned one time after I gave to him my cashed check from work together with his, he totaled it to be about $1200, for rent, food and we planned to buy a car. He lost the money in a drug raid. I said to him, knowing the company he was keeping, don’t call me from the police station and he did. He kept on in the drug seen and soon our home was being visited more often by strangers. I worked and attended college and saved to buy a car. He took the car and sold it, leaving no means of transportation to get the children to school. I was done at this point. I contacted an attorney and left him; although we were not married, I wanted an agreement in writing that he was the father and would provide for them. My children have spent less than an hour a year over the course of the 20 years that we have quit the relationship. But he has time to send his girlfriends and family to harass me, cause me problems and characterize me.

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