More Than 20,000 Child Abuse Cases In State

April 30, 2014

From planting pinwheel gardens to speaking with educators and parents, child welfare workers in Indiana have used Child Abuse Prevention Month in April to build awareness of the problem.

More than 20,000 confirmed cases of child abuse or neglect are reported in the state each year, said Sandy Runkle-DeLorme, director of programs for Prevent Child Abuse Indiana, but physical abuse hasn’t even been the biggest concern.

“Neglect has been lately over 70 percent of substantiated cases,” she said, “and in fact, in Indiana in 2012, even sexual abuse was more often substantiated than physical abuse.”

Allegations of neglect can include anything from overall lack of supervision to a car seat that isn’t installed properly, Runkle-DeLorme said. Child abuse and neglect tend to be stereotyped as problems that occur among poor families, she said, but they actually cross all socioeconomic boundaries.

While neglect cases are on the increase, Runkle-DeLorme said the downward trends for physical and sexual abuse show that prevention and education efforts can work. She said almost anyone can find ways to be part of the solution.

“Reaching out to people who are parents – and I’d say all parents, because anybody who is a parent understands that it can be frustrating at times,” she said. “So, just reaching out; and for parents, make sure and ask for help.”

State leaders in Indiana are paying attention to the problem and creating better policies, she said, including recently approving stricter regulations for non-licensed child care.

Indiana News Service

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