Counselors hoping to reduce cases of child abuse in Lucas County

Counselors hoping to reduce cases of child abuse in Lucas County

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - More than 4,000 reports of child abuse were reported in Lucas County last year.

Some of those tragically ended in a child's death, like the death of 4-year-old Aaliyah Smith in November 2016.

That's why local agencies are working hard to help us stop abuse during Child Abuse Prevention Month.

The Family and Child Abuse Prevention Center has been helping families recover from abuse for over 30 years.

But they are also helping prevent it by going into schools, libraries and anywhere people will invite them to help stop the cycle of abuse. But the counselors hope they will not have to see that many children here at all.

That's why the Children's Advocacy Center goes into schools and all over the city to educate people on how to spot, and prevent child abuse.

"Nobody wants to get involved in other people's business," said Supervisor JoAnne Carson, "but when the welfare of a child is at stake it's very important to keep your eyes and ears open."

That's why they tell parents it is important to tune in to your neighbors, family members and friends for the signs of abuse, like a child who was shy beginning to act aggressively or one who is usually outgoing and withdraws.

They also tell students who is safe to report abuse to.

"And that if the first person they tell doesn't help them or doesn't believe them, that they keep telling until someone does help them," says Carson.

Last year in Lucas County, over 4,500 reports of child abuse were investigated.

Of those, over half were physical abuse investigations, more than 1,700 were neglect and 13 percent were sexual abuse.

Many of those cases are referred to the Family and Child Abuse Prevention Center and one of the main things they have to help children rebuild is trust.

"Especially if this was someone the child knew, that they trusted," said Carson."They wonder should I trust anyone anymore?"

But through therapy, time and even some help from their in-house therapy dog, children do begin to open up and heal.

If you have concerns about a family residing in Lucas County, call Children Services 24 hours a day at (419) 213-CARE (2273) You can keep your name confidential.

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