At-Risk Kids Are Depending on You
If you suspect that a child is being abused or seriously neglected, don't wait to take action. Please call the Kalamazoo County Child Protective Services (CPS) at 1-855-444-3911 immediately. The call is completely confidential. A trained CPS specialist will ask you a short series of questions to help determine what is occurring and why you are concerned. You need not give your name or address.
If there is a reasonable suspicion that abuse or neglect is taking place, CPS will take appropriate action to safeguard the children involved. In many cases, a caseworker will visit the home where abuse or neglect may be occurring. For more information about CPS procedures and guidelines, click here now.
For information about the Michigan Dept. of Human Services child abuse and neglect program, please click here now or call 1-855-444-3911.
What is a Reasonable Suspicion of Abuse?
Some people aren't sure what constitutes "reasonable suspicion" of child abuse or neglect. In most cases, reasonable suspicion of abuse can be based on the following:
- Witnessing the abuse yourself
- Noticing the warning signs of abuse in a child (see list below)
- When an adult, parent or child confides in you
What to Do If a Child Confides in You
If a child confides in you, remember the simple acronym “R.O.L.E.” Here's what it means:
First, Reassure the child that it was the right thing to tell you. Overcome the desire to over-react or talk negatively about the abuser. Listen, don’t lead the conversation. Encourage the child by saying you will help them. Then follow through by calling Kalamazoo County Children's Protective Services (CPS) at 1-855-444-3911.
If you a mandated reported who is required by law to report all cases of suspected or actual child abuse or neglect, please click here for Michigan Form 3200.
Every parent knows that raising a child can be difficult at times. No one ever achieves “perfection” when it comes to parenting. On the other hand, there’s a big difference between normal parenting mistakes and serious abuse or neglect. Here are some common warning signs that abuse or neglect may be happening.
Warning Signs of Physical Abuse:
- Unexplained bruises, welts or cuts
- A pattern of injuries over time
- Fearful behavior by the child
- Caregivers who are physically abusive or often angry
- Inappropriate child clothing, which may be used by the child
or caregiver to hide signs of injury
Warning Signs of Emotional Abuse:
- Excessively fearful or shy behavior
- Persistent anti-social behavior (e.g., very aggressive)
- Children who constantly try to “parent” other kids
- Regression – older children acting much younger
- Harsh, belittling or manipulative caregiver behavior
Warning Signs of Sexual Abuse:
- An STD or pregnancy before age 14
- Stained, bloody or torn underclothes
- Injury to the genital area
- Children who have age-inappropriate knowledge about sex or interest in sexual acts
- Extreme passive or aggressive behavior
- Self-destructive behavior such as substance abuse, self-mutilation or suicide attempts
- Caregivers who limit the child’s contact with others
Warning Signs of Neglect:
- Chronically bad hygiene, such as very dirty or matted hair, persistent body odor, etc.
- Poorly fitting clothes that are dirty and disheveled
- Children who appear to be unsupervised
- Substance abuse or reckless disregard by caregivers