TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - There are 14,000 kids living in foster care here in Ohio and by 2020 it's expected to increase to 20,000.
Child abuse and neglect, along with the ongoing opioid epidemic are said to be the blame.
Lucas County has 450 firefighters who are training during the month of April for National Child Abuse Prevention Month.
These 450 local first responders are often the first to enter a home, so they're learning how to respond if they come across abuse or neglect while on the job.
"I'm giving the an overview of our agency, not only about the part where we have to come in and remove, but I'm talking to them about what our day to day is like, what our needs are in terms of foster and adoptive homes as well as the types of cases and our high risk neighborhoods that we're in," said Sherry Dunn, with Lucas County Children Services.
In the past year, Lucas County has seen nearly 1,600 confirmed cases of child abuse and neglect.
These first responders are another way to help overwhelmed parents who might not feel comfortable talking with law enforcement.
"Sometimes we can kind of go in and look at a situation and say, are you aware of the different services and options that are out in the county. I'm not here to enforce any laws, I just want you to live your best life and it seems like there are a couple things you could get help with," said Aislinn Charlton- Dennis said.
Dunn said there are ways to spot signs that are endangering children.
"The kids begging for food, maybe young children who are home alone or maybe children who are unkept or not clean."
If you suspect abuse you're urged to contact Lucas County Children Services here.
If you have questions about reporting abuse, as in what should you do or if you think a child has been abused or neglected, call the local Child Protective Services agency or Department of Human Services.