The county has seen a 112-percent increase in the number of confirmed victims of child neglect or abuse from .6 percent in 2000 to 1.4 percent in 2009 of county children.
The report also showed increases in the number of children living in families investigated for abuse and the number of children living in out-of-home care.
The rise in confirmed victims may not be the result of more children being victimized, said Safe Harbor Children’s Advocacy Center executive director Lori Antkoviak.
While people often recognized that children who were victims had behavioral problems, many members of the public did not know that abuse could be an underlying cause, she said.
Safe Harbor in Allegan and other child advocacy groups throughout the state have worked hard to educate the public about abuse during the past decade, she said.
“It was being done in the past,” she said. “People just didn’t know what to do about it or how to stop it.”