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Washtenaw United: Preventing Child Abuse And Protecting Children Throughout The Pandemic

Michelle Walters
Washtenaw Area Council for Children

The pandemic has created hardships across the board.  For a good number of people, it has been devastating and sometimes tragic.  Many have lost jobs and, coupled with being largely confined at home, are more stressed than ever.  That can be a recipe for child abuse.  WEMU's David Fair spoke about it with Michelle Walters, executive director of the Washtenaw Area Council for Children, whose mission is to prevent child abuse and ensure safe and healthy lives for all children. 

WEMU has partnered with the United Way of Washtenaw County to explore the people, organizations, and institutions creating opportunity and equity in our area.  And, as part of this ongoing series, you’ll also hear from the people benefiting and growing from the investments being made in the areas of our community where there are gaps in available services.  It is a community voice.  It is 'Washtenaw United.'




In April 2019, Michelle moved from North Central Iowa to join the WACC team as the Executive Director.  Ms. Walters has a deep–rooted foundation of nonprofit management and has diverse experiences in early childhood development, child abuse prevention, adolescent sexual health, hospice, and substance abuse prevention.  Ms. Walters received her Bachelor’s degree in Child and Family Services from Iowa State University and Masters of Social Work degree from the University of Michigan School of Social Work.  Michelle and her family love living in Michigan and are so grateful to the community for becoming the supportive “family” needed throughout the pandemic and beyond. Michelle lives in Milan with her partner Mike, their 2 daughters, 2 dogs, and turtle.


Washtenaw Area Council for Children

Washtenaw County Injury Report

U of M Child and Adolescents Lab

U of M Child and Adolescents Lab – Child Protective Services and Academic Performance

State data as provided by the Michigan Children’s Trust Fund

Kids Count Child Abuse Data for Washtenaw County

Kids Count Infant Mortality Data for Washtenaw County

Washtenaw Area Council for Children Resources


WACC’s mission is to promote child safety and well-being, and to prevent child maltreatment, abuse, and neglect through educational service and programs to children, parents, community members and youth serving professionals throughout Washtenaw County.

UWWC has been an avid supporter and partner with WAAC.  The Cyber Safety and Cyberbullying/Bullying Prevention Program is an educational program designed to teach children, youth, parents & community members in Washtenaw County about online dangers, digital protective tools and promote physical & emotional safety.

Most recently through the COVID-19 Community Recovery Fund, WACC was awarded $15,000 to provide agency support as the organization pivoted its programming due to limitations imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Schools had historically been the primary mode of delivery for their programs that prevent child sexual abuse, however, with schools now in an online medium, the agency must too must adapt services to support the teachers as well as parents and youth that now find their lives online now more than ever before.

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— David Fair is the WEMU News Director and host of Morning Edition on WEMU.  You can contact David at 734.487.3363, on twitter @DavidFairWEMU, or email him atdfair@emich.edu


Contact David: dfair@emich.edu
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