LUCAS COUNTY, OH (WTOL) - Child abuse happens all too often in Lucas County. And, according to child services, it's happening in central Toledo the most.
Henrietta Savage Armstrong helps run the Martin Luther King Kitchen for the Poor on Vance Street.
"It's really bad. It's really bad," Armstrong said.
She said kids in the area often come to her kitchen looking for a hot meal, and the signs of abuse are there.
"Especially in the summer months, you can tell by how the children look what's going on with them," she said.
According to Lucas County Children Services, 1 in 12 kids living in central Toledo will become a victim of child abuse..
"You gotta quit acting like it's not happening," Armstrong said. "People live next door, you know what's going on over there, but people are scared."
More than 1,000 cases of child abuse were confirmed last year in Lucas County - that's 11 percent more than in 2014.
"When you see it happening, step in. Sometimes it's only a small thing," said Robin Reese, the executive director at Lucas County Children Services.
She said there are subtle ways people can help.
"Children having problems at school, step in, go to the school, help the parent with that problem. You see parents don't have food to feed their children, step in, buy food," Reese said.
It's those small steps that Armstrong believes could really make a difference.
But despite the fact that anyone can report child abuse anonymously, she said many in central Toledo can't get past the fear of retaliation.
"People are scared, scared at what might happen, scared that this person is gonna know that they turned them in. They won't know," Armstrong said.
If you know of a child being abused, call Lucas County Children Services at (419) 213-CARE.