COLDWATER, MI (WTVB) - Branch County has the highest per capita rate in Michigan of reported cases of child sexual abuse and that number could possibly increase with the debut today statewide of a new call-in system for reporting abuse and neglect.
Officials say it’s another step to meet a court ordered mandate for Michigan to improve conditions for children needing protective services. The new system establishes a single phone number inMichiganfor reporting abuse or neglect related to children as well as adults. It’s a 24-7 number and that includes weekends and holidays.
It’s designed so decisions on whether to investigate a child abuse case can be made on the spot in advance of being directly referred to county-level child protective services. The statewide complaint intake system will eliminate calls made to individual Departments of Human Services county-level offices, which officials say sometimes led to inconsistent results.
The D-H-S says the new toll free number will be available to the general public as well as those who have a legal mandate to notify authorities of suspected child abuse and neglect such as teachers and doctors. The phone number for reporting abuse and neglect is 1-855-444-3911