Our Children, Our Future
In many ways Our Children, Our Future represents a child’s Bill of Rights. Developed through community-wide collaboration, it outlines the basic rights all children should enjoy. For all of our efforts on behalf of children, it serves as the foundation.
A task force of child welfare professionals and concerned citizens dedicated eight months to studying ways to improve Kent County’s response to children. Perspective 21 provides all of their findings.
Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention and the Law
Defining Prevention in three critical ways:
Primary Prevention: when services are available to all members of the general population and seek to promote wellness
Secondary Prevention: when services are offered to adults and children who are considered at risk for abuse or neglect
Tertiary Prevention: when services are offered in situations where child abuse and neglect have been substantiated with a focus on preventing further occurrences
Defining Child Physical Abuse, Maltreatment and Neglect:
- Child Abuse: a non-accidental injury to a child which, regardless of motive, is inflicted or allowed to be inflicted by the person responsible for the child’s care.
- Child Maltreatment: includes, but is not limited to, malnutrition, sexual molestation, deprivation of necessities, emotional maltreatment, or cruel punishment.
- Child Neglect: a condition in which a caretaker responsible for the child, either deliberately or by extraordinary inattentiveness, permits the child to experience avoidable present suffering and/or fails to provide one or more of the ingredients generally deemed essential for developing a person’s physical, intellectual, and emotional capacities.
Mandated Reporter Training is geared toward professionals required by law to report child abuse and neglect. Our training helps prevent abuse through better understanding of child protection laws, the creation of reports to Children’s Protective Services (CPS), and knowledge of what services and resources are available for families involved.
Mandated Reporters Include:
- Physician or Physician’s Assistant
- Registered dental hygienist
- Medical examiner
- Licensed emergency medical care provider
- Marriage and family therapist
- Licensed professional counselor
- Social worker
- Licensed master’s social worker
- Licensed bachelor’s social worker
- Registered social service technician
- Social service technician
- School administrator
- School counselor or teacher
- Law enforcement officer
- Member of the clergy
- Regulated childcare provider
If a child discloses abuse, you should:
- Believe the child
- Not overreact
- Seek to reduce the child’s level of anxiety:
- Speak calmly
- NEVER ask questions such as, “Why didn’t you tell me about this sooner?”
- Make clear that what happened is NOT HIS/HER FAULT
- Not push for more than the child is willing to say
What happens once a report is made?
- A Childrens Protective Services (CPS) Intake worker receives the report
- CPS will determine whether to open the case for investigation
- CPS will begin investigation
- CPS will assess the risk or threat of harm to child and, based on the assessment, take certain actions
- CPS will talk to parents, family members, or teachers to gather information
Child Protection Law
The Michigan Child Protection Law states that individuals who have “reasonable cause to suspect child abuse or neglect shall make immediately…an oral report.” And within 72 hours after making the oral report, the reporting person shall file a written report, known as a 3200 form. You will be asked to include on the form the alleged victim’s full name, birth date, and race; the alleged perpetrator’s full name and relationship to alleged victim (if known); the child’s current address; address where the abuse took place; if the alleged perpetrator lives with the child; and why you think the child is being maltreated. All reports are confidential. You do not have to give your name when making a report.
Sign Up for Training
Five community-wide trainings are offered each year. We can also bring our training to your workplace. Our two- to three-hour session and materials is $15 for professionals and $5 for students.
If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, call Kent County Child Protective Services toll-free at 855-444-3911.