Child abuse deaths on the rise

SAINT JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind.- Stress factors inside the home. That's one of the reasons the Department of Child Services says it's seeing escalating numbers of abuse and neglect cases in Indiana.

"From lack of family support, lack of resources in the community," said Regan Harding, assessment supervisor, Department of Child Services.  "Like I've said before: financial strain, anything that will contribute to the stress levels in the family."

They're seeing a pattern of stress factors: substance abuse, domestic violence, mental health issues and unemployment. Twenty-five counts of abuse happened in homes where one or both caregivers were unemployed.

"If the family doesn't have any support here in the area and anybody they can turn to in a time of need- that can also increase their stress," said Harding.

That's why DCS is reaching out into the community and increasing prevention programs in our area.

"We go and speak at some of the area schools, IUSB. We're working really hard with our local law enforcement and prosecutors office to be more proactive about community education," said Harding.

She says education is key to get these bleak statistics down for next year. And the goal is within reach.

"To work together to prevent child abuse from happening because that's the ultimate goal- is to get to a point where this community is safe for children," said Harding. 

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