Survey of Michigan and U.P. Kids’ Health

Michigan children are more likely to be living in poverty now, and to be facing abuse and neglect now, than 10 years ago.

That’s according to the Kids Count in Michigan annual data book, which just came out today.

The Kids Count in Michigan survey found nearly 1 out of every 5 kids in the state is living in poverty.

And confirmed victims of abuse or neglect went up 16% between 2000 and 2008, the latest year where figures are available.

The U.P. Children’s Coalition discussed the findings via video conference with child advocates in Lansing.

Many talked about sharing the results with the state legislature, since funding for many preventive programs has been slashed.

U.P. Children’s Coalition chair Paul Olson says it’s the group’s goal to bring this sort of information to lawmakers and get them to buy into it.

Rural Michigan counties, which includes most of the U.P., were found to have higher rates of poverty and abuse than suburban or urban counties.

The U.P. didn’t see an increase in abuse cases between 2007 and 2008, which is a good sign in light of the economic downtown.

Rough economies usually push the frequency of child abuse up.

But for those who work with child abuse cases, like Marquette County Probate Judge Michael Anderegg, seeing the number of confirmed victims grow in the last decade is a serious problem that needs attention.

The judge pointed particularly to the last 5 years.

While there are major concerns from the data, there are also some positives to point to.

The survey found a drop in child deaths and teen pregnancy.

There were also improvements in education, with better state math test scores and fewer high school dropouts.