FLINT TWP. — The Board of Trustee unanimously passed a resolution to support April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month.
Police Chief George Sippert read and asked the board to support a proclamation from Fight Crime: Invest in Kids. Based in Washington D.C., Fight Crime is a national, bipartisan, nonprofit anti-crime organization of more than 5,000 police chiefs, sheriffs, prosecutors, attorneys general and other law enforcement leaders and violence survivors, according to its website. It also operates a state office in Michigan.
Sippert said law enforcement officers usually are the first responders to child abuse and neglect cases which are some of the most tragic situations that men and women in uniform deal with.
“This is a problem for our community and our society,’’ he said.
The proclamation states in 2009, 176,021 Michigan families were investigated for suspected child abuse or neglect and that 30,799 Michigan children were confirmed as victims of abuse or neglect.
Also, from 2005-06, of the 45 Michigan children who died as a result of abuse, 44 percent were between the ages of 1-4, and 49 percent of were under one year of age. During those years, of 38 child neglect death cases, 13 percent were children between ages 1-4 and 63 percent were children younger than one.
Abused or neglected children have a higher risk in adulthood for developing health problems, including alcoholism, depression, drug abuse, eating disorders, obesity, suicide and certain chronic diseases, the proclamation stated.
A National Institute of Justice study indicated abused or neglected children are 11 times more likely to be arrested for criminal behavior as juveniles and 2.7 times more likely to be arrested for violent and criminal behavior as adults.
An estimated one third of abused or neglected children grow up to abuse or neglect their own children.
Research has shown the success of quality home visitation, parentingcoaching and family support programs prevent children from being abused or neglected, reduce subsequent delinquency and improve other outcomes for children including home visiting models like the Michigan Zero to 3 Secondary Prevention Initiative, the Nurse-Family Partnership, Healthy Families, Early Head Start and Parents as Teachers.
The proclamation further stated child abuse has long-term societal and economic costs and that providing community based services to families at risk or already impacted by child abuse or neglect may be far less costly than the emotional and physical damage inflicted on children who have been abused or neglected, providing services including child protective, law enforcement, court, foster care or health care services, providing treatment to adults recovering from child abuse or providing incarceration to convicted criminals of child abuse and neglect.
In passing the resolution, the proclamation said the township board recognized and applauded national, state and community organizations that work to promote awareness about child abuse or neglect, including identifying risk factors and developing prevention strategies.’’ — Rhonda S. Sanders