Delta County updates child protective protocol

DELTA COUNTY — Several Delta County agencies took a huge step in the fight against child neglect and abuse in the U.P. On Wednesday afternoon, the Delta County Department of Health and Human Services in Escanaba hosted a public signing of a multi-disciplinary team protocol for investigations regarding abuse.

The new updated protocol is a partnership between law enforcement, prosecutors, and protective services that calls for a new regional center, which would cover child abuse cases in the U.P. The center would be the first in the U.P., and would be located in an underused county building with forensic interviewing, and child advocacy on site.

The project has been spearheaded by the Northern Michigan Mobile Advocacy Center nonprofit group downstate, which is establishing the new center with the use of grants.

“The Upper Peninsula is just under-served when it comes to child abuse response,” said Bethany Law, the Executive Director of the Northern Michigan Mobile Child Advocacy Center. “There are 31 accredited child advocacy centers in the state of Michigan that cover about 89 percent of Michigan’s children, and there’s zero in the Upper Peninsula – so we’re hoping to fill a gap that’s there.”

The Delta Community Foundation presented a check to the organization for $100,000 and the Delta County Board of Commissioners donated $35,000 as well. The staff of the new Child Advocacy Center was also announced.