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Help Stop Child Abuse: Recognize & Report

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. It is a time to recognize that we can each play a part in promoting the social and emotional well-being of children and families in our communities.

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. It is a time to recognize that we can each play a part in promoting the social and emotional well-being of children and families in our communities.

Big Family of Michigan is an organization helping to make life better for children waiting to be adopted, or in at-risk situations. Their primary mission is to save children's lives by teaching the "Recognize and Report" method to everyone that comes in contact with any at-risk child, specifically foster children. The hope is to eliminate abuse to these children by teaching others to "recognize" signs of abuse and urge them to "report" it.

As the voice for these at-risk children, Big Family's goals are centered around restoring hope and self-esteem to children – who often feel hopeless.

 How do you recognize an abused child:

  • The eyes of an abused and neglected child are blank, emotionless.
  • They show no signs of joy or emotion of any kind.
  • Most abused children do not establish eye contact. They will look over your head, at the floor, or at an object on an opposite wall.

What to do about it:

  • If you suspect child abuse/neglect, or you think something in a certain home just isn't right (but you can't put your finger on it), call you local child abuse hotline or 911.
  • Keep a paper trail of your calls, logging the date and time.
  • Document the name of the person that you spoke with.
  • Note the case number for reference in a follow-up call.
  • If you see nothing happening, call again and again. Do not give up.

Remember this:

  • You do not need to prove child abuse is happening. You only have to suspect it is taking place.
  • Listen to the voice inside of you that is tell you that something does not appear right.
  • Make the call! If you are wrong, you will have caused no harm.

 To learn more about Big Family of Michigan, visit www.BigFamilyofMichigan.org.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Dave March 28, 2012 at 11:25 PM
Nice article.. but please people.. make sure of what you are reporting. It's not sometthing to take lightly.. the cure is usually worse than the disease if they get social services involved. Me i would try to find some other help for the parents or abuser than to report them to 911. But that's just me. If i had no other choice i would call in DHS. Just think about the consequences of what is going to happen to both the parents and the children by tearing them apart or strapping them with extra financial burden.
Melissa Bergstrom April 06, 2012 at 08:21 PM
What do you do when you attempt to report neglect and the CPS tells you they "Don't feel what you have stated is neglect" (ex: baby gating a 2 & 3 y.o. In their room for hours on end unattended while the parents sleep--no diapers changed, no runny noses wiped. I walked into a family members home to this. And one of the girls had thrown up on herself and had vomit and her hair dried to her face) and I was told this is not neglect. I'm at a loss... Parents won't accept help from a very willing family.
Jeanne Fowler April 30, 2012 at 04:08 PM
Melissa, unfortunately not everyone sees neglect as abuse but it is clear that this family is in need of help. You stated this is a family member, are there extended family members that can step in with aide for this family. I do not know the whole story but why are they sleeping during the day. Are they working nights? That is the first problem that needs to be looked at or are they on something that is causing them to sleep during the day.. If it is a problem that other family members can help with that would be the best thing to do before getting CPS involved. However, if you feel that something is going on in this home that does need to be checked into you can always call the police and ask for a welfare check or safety check done on this home and if something is not right they will call CPS and that call will be looked at. Jeanne Fowler Big Family of Michigan

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