TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Nine children in Lucas County have lost their lives during the past year - all because of abuse, neglect and/or violence.
Lucas County Children Services Executive Director Robin Reese says attention must be brought to this issue.
"It's quite alarming. We've seen rises in neglect and abuse and when parents are suffering from drug addiction then kids suffer," said Reese.
Reese says the opioid epidemic has their department spread thin.
It's making them ask difficult questions on how many children they can care for, which is scary because these kids need guidance more than ever.
"The drive is to get the drugs, and if your whole drive is to get drugs, you're not concerned about your children," said Reese. "We see kids that are not going to school, we've seen children coming in recently that know how to administer Narcan."
Currently, Reese says they have around 700 kids in their custody. And for these numbers to change and these children to be cared for, Reese says the community needs to get involved.
"To say something when something is happening, extend yourself to families that are struggling," Reese said.
Wednesday, April 12th is Wear Blue Day, and Lucas County Children Services is asking residents to dress in blue to help bring awareness to this issue. Then, at the end of the month, they will hold their annual memorial to honor the youth lost throughout the year.