Local agency has program to help struggling parents

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Two infants have died in the last two months in Michiana and in both cases, a parent is facing charges. Local organizations say there are resources for parents who want help and for people who want to report abuse or neglect.

July 12, 4-month-old Halo Stutsman died and her father has been charged with neglect of a dependent resulting in death.

Last weekend, 11-month-old Micahyah Crockett died after being smothered, beaten and kicked - allegedly by his mother.

His mother is charged with murder.

"I felt like everybody else in the community, first shocked and then saddened and sickened," said Paige Hamilton of Stop Child Abuse and Neglect (SCAN).

Hamilton says there are ways to get parents help.

"The goal is to help a family through whatever crisis so they never become part of the DCS system," said Hamilton.

SCAN offers a free program called Community Partners.

They work with any family in crisis for a maximum of four months - whether it's teaching parents how to safely handle their children, referring parents to jobs, or helping feed the family.

"Having difficulty knows no income or no age," said Hamilton.

Officials say it's up to parents to seek help and for those around them to report any problems they may see.

"People need to be vigilant about child abuse every day," said James Pippin, Regional Manager of the Indiana Department of Child Services.

"If you think something's fishy, if something's wrong, if something isn't adding up, make the call," said Hamilton.

Click here for more information on the SCAN Community Partners program or call 800-752-7116.

If you suspect abuse or neglect, call the Indiana hotline at 800-800-5556 24-hours a day, 7-days a week.

In Michigan, call 855-444-3911 24-hours a day, 7-days a week.


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