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Suspected child abuse increased 25 percent from 2015 to 2016

Minnesota parents may be horrified to learn that the number of children in the state who were believed to be neglected or abused increased by 25 percent between 2015 and 2016. Authorities believed that the increase may be due to multiple factors, including awareness, a growing opioid crisis and how reports are reviewed.

In 2014, child abuse allegations became an important issue to the governor after it was revealed that county workers never followed up on the case of a 4-year-old boy who was then killed by his stepmother. Shortly following the death of the child, the governor announced major changes to the state's child protection system. These changes included having random screenings of decisions made by state workers to ensure that they were doing an appropriate job. Child protection experts were also hired to provide advice for state workers.

An assistant human services commissioner also stated that preventing child abuse was just as important as responding to child abuse allegations. This can be done by ensuring that adults spend time with friends and family to relieve stress outside the home, help other parents so that they can take a break and set a good example for the children by being patient and nurturing.

If a parent and a child are at risk for suffering domestic violence at the hands of a spouse or significant other, the at-risk parent may go to court to seek a restraining order. A family law attorney may assist in this regard and with preparing the at-risk parent for court if a permanent order of protection is needed.

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