It has grown over the past couple of years, due in large part to the community’s substance abuse issue.
And, much like that substance abuse issue, the situation of child neglect within Fayette County doesn’t appear it will be going away any time soon, either.
Recently released figures for the month of February show Fayette County with the second-highest total in the six-county DCS Region 12 of substantiated child neglect cases with 14, trailing only Wayne County, which had 17 such cases.
It gives the county, through only two months, 20 substantiated cases of child neglect in 2017, coming on the heels of a 2016 which saw Fayette County with its largest figure of substantiated child neglect cases – 160 – in its history.
Child neglect, as defined by the state of Indiana, is when a “child’s physical or mental condition is seriously impaired or seriously endangered as a result of the parent, guardian, or custodian being unable, refusing, or neglecting to supply the child with necessary food, clothing, shelter, medical care, education, or supervision.”
Many local officials have previously chalked up the situation with child neglect as a direct correlation of the community’s ongoing issue of substance abuse.
Through the first two months of 2017, Fayette County also has three substantiated cases of physical child abuse, tying the county with Wayne County for the highest figure of physical child abuse in DCS Region 12 so far this year.
The county only had five such cases of substantiated physical child abuse for the entirety of 2016, per DCS statistics.
One encouraging sign, however, is the lack of substantiated cases of child sexual abuse thus far within Fayette County. The county has had no such cases, quite the contrast to other areas counties such as Franklin, which had four substantiated cases of child sexual abuse, per DCS, in February.
Overall, the state of Indiana had 2,081 substantiated cases of child neglect in February – slightly up from January’s figure – along with 199 substantiated cases of child sexual abuse and 159 substantiated cases of physical child abuse, which were both slight decreases since January.
If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, call Indiana’s Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline at 1-800-800-5556. It is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. You can report abuse and neglect anonymously.