Child abuse cases, awareness grows

(Anderson) Herald Bulletin

Every account of child abuse is appalling in its own way.

The themes seem constant in the tragic reality each story relates. But the painful details individually define the seriousness of the story. Each has unspeakable horrors that no child should be forced to endure.

Yet many times, as we read of these accounts, we fail to understand the scope of child abuse.

Nationally, one in 10 children suffers from maltreatment. One in 16 suffers from sexual abuse. Statistics are startling but, sadly, it is the individual stories that shock us into awareness.

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

About 25 Indiana counties are holding some type of similar prevention ceremony. However, awareness of child abuse is growing in Indiana.

There were 6 percent more reports of child abuse and neglect called into a state hotline (1-800-800-5556) in 2014 than 2013. There were also 21 percent more assessments involving investigations of child abuse and neglect in that same period.

Under Indiana law, any individual who has a reason to believe a child is a victim of abuse or neglect has the duty to make a report; therefore, each citizen of Indiana is considered a “mandated reporter.”

As cases grow, so does the need for investigators. The Indiana Department of Child Services plans to bring in 100 new caseworkers and 17 supervisors. A DCS annual report showed there were 39 case managers in Madison County and 45 were required to meet the state standard. Known as the 12/17 standard, the state is aiming to have assessment caseworkers work on no more than 12 cases a month and for ongoing workers to carry no more than 17 families.

The numbers are daunting.

Whether physical, sexual or emotional, child abuse is a crime that no young person should have to endure.

And we should all be aware of that.

Report abuse

If you know of or suspect child abuse or neglect, call the Indiana hotline at (800) 800-5556.

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