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Sobering Study for MI: 1 in 50 Infants Abused or Neglected

April 4, 2008

Lansing, MI – Abuse and neglect in the first year of life are the lot of one baby in every 50 across the United States, according to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control.

Michigan native Ben Tanzer, with Prevent Child Abuse America, says the statistics should instill urgency to do more on the prevention side. He says Michigan children are more likely to be neglected than abused, adding that strengthening families is part of the prevention strategy. That can be done by offering community education or "super-nanny-type" home visits.

"Parenting is a really tough job. And we don't necessarily do enough to prepare parents. We don't necessarily provide them with the resources that they need."

Tanzer says normal new parent "stumbles" can be amplified by drug use, job juggling or a difficult-to-console baby.

His group would like to see more parent-support systems in Michigan. Prevent Child Abuse America is working on letting parents know it's okay to ask for help.

"We live in a society that is very 'pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps,' but families are a little more complicated, and families have a lot more stressors--certainly in this current economy."

The full report is at www.cdc.gov.

Deborah Smith/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - MI