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Michigan gets help from feds to build policy for children facing traumatic experiences

Runar Pedersen Holkestad
Creative Commons

The federal government will help Michigan come up with a policy over the summer to help traumatized children.

Michigan, California and Massachusetts will get help from the Department of Justice. Each state will develop a comprehensive plan to identify, screen and treat children exposed to violence.

Bob Wheaton is with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. He says more than half of the reports Children’s Protective Services write up involve domestic violence.

“Children who experience trauma often end up in the juvenile justice system because of some of the issues that they’re having as a result of being exposed to trauma at such a young age,” Wheaton said.

More than 30,000 children in Michigan were victims of abuse or neglect in 2012. 

Wheaton’s department, the Michigan Department of Education, the Governor’s office, courts, law enforcement, private providers and the Detroit Youth Violence Prevention Initiative will all team up for the initiative.

“Rather than having each entity do their own thing, they can all put their heads together and come up with a common plan and then attack this issue together,” Wheaton said.

They hope a new approach will help children recover after a traumatic experience.

Lindsey Smith is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently leading the station's Amplify Team. She previously served as Michigan Public's Morning News Editor, Investigative Reporter and West Michigan Reporter.
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