A new council is forming to help prevent child abuse and neglect in Jackson County.
In 2015, the Department of Child Services investigated 211 local cases of child abuse and neglect, according to statistics collected by the Indiana Youth Institute.
Those cases ranged from 171 reports of parents and caregivers not meeting a child’s basic needs to 12 involving physical abuse and 28 cases of sexual abuse.
The overall numbers represent a decrease of 64 cases from 2014, but they are only the cases reported to DCS and substantiated. Jackson County is ranked 44th of 92 counties for child abuse.
The existing Court Appointed Special Advocate program in Jackson County currently is serving 122 children in the court system, with 92 on a waiting list to be appointed an advocate when one is available. Advocates speak on behalf of children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect.
In response to the statistics, Child Care Network is starting Caring 4 Kids Jackson County, a charter council of Prevent Child Abuse Indiana.
Kate Garrity, executive director of Child Care Network, said there is a need to do more to protect children in the area by stopping abuse before it happens and to educate the community.
“The purpose of the group is to raise awareness of child abuse and what prevention measures can be taken,” she said.
An organizational meeting will be at 10 a.m. Friday in the third-floor conference room at the Community Agency Building, 113 N. Chestnut St., Seymour.
Garrity is serving as co-chair of the council along with Charlotte Moss, Turning Point Domestic Violence Services community services director for Jackson County.
Anyone interested in preventing child abuse and protecting children can join the council.
Read the full story in Thursday’s Tribune and online at tribtown.com.