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Child Abuse Reports are Down, So Child Abuse Must be Up, Right?


- Attorney Michael Cronkright

This is maddening. There is a lack of evidence that child abuse is on the rise. Across the country we hear the pleas of those who believe that the home is too dangerous for children without the protection of the government, and especially CPS. The theory is that homes and parents are bad for children. Children need to be in school and visible to the government so that they can be protected from parents. The facts seem to be otherwise. Since the COVID 19 crisis and the “shelter in place” orders, we have seen a decrease in reports of child abuse. So, the rationale is that the decrease in child abuse reports can only mean one thing: Child abuse is on the rise. There simply must be more infants with fractures, more Shaken Baby Syndrome cases and more physical and sexual abuse, right?

The better explanation may be that we see what we believe. If you believe that parents are bad, that homes are dangerous places for children to be and that schools are there to protect kids from bad parents, you would naturally draw the conclusion that taking kids out of school and sending them home will bring all sorts of horrible outcomes. Yet, across the country thousands of parents are discovering the joys of teaching their own kids and spending more time together. Of course, there is stress associated with limited exposure to society and decreased income. That does not change the fact that the overwhelming majority of parents treat their children well and children benefit from more time and influence from their parents.

It takes a certain tunnel vision to see the evidence of decreased child abuse reports and draw the conclusion that child abuse is on the rise because kids are not being watched over by school officials and CPS. As a trial attorney, I get a little worked up anytime the lack of evidence becomes the evidence in support of an anti-parent proposition.

Here are some ideas we could consider:

  • Kids benefit from more time with their parents.
  • The overwhelming majority of parents are well meaning and up to the challenges of parenting.
  • Parents are better at raising kids than the government.
  • Most homes are safe places for kids.

If we consider these things, we may decide that child abuse reports are down because kids are safe at home with their parents.

If you have any questions regarding this subject, please feel free to call Cronkright Law at (517) 325-0441 .

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