After being in single digits for June and July, Fayette County saw its number of substantiated child neglect cases skyrocket again last month.
The Indiana Department of Child Services earlier this month released its statistics for August regarding child neglect, child physical abuse and child sexual abuse for the six-county DCS Region 12, with Fayette County seeing its figures rise 48 percent between July and August.
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 and area officials have previously chalked up the situation with child neglect as a direct correlation of the ongoing issue of substance abuse throughout the state and nation.
For the month of August, Fayette County had 17 substantiated cases of child neglect, up from 9 in July. August’s figures mark the highest monthly number of substantiated child neglect cases, so far this year, for the county.
August also saw Fayette County with one substantiated case of child sexual abuse, bringing its total year-to-date to three such cases. The county has already had six substantiated cases of child physical abuse through the first eight months of the year, a number which tops the county’s 2016 total of five child physical abuse cases.
Currently, after eight months of 2017, the county has 87 substantiated cases of child neglect, putting it on pace for 130 – a figure which would be roughly 19 percent lower than the county’s all-time record high number of 160 such cases in 2016.
The other area counties in DCS Region 12 to have double-digit child neglect numbers in August were Wayne, with 32 cases; Franklin, with 20 cases; and Henry, with 13 cases. The 20 such cases in August for Franklin County were also a high mark so far this year for that county.
Overall, in August, the state of Indiana had 2,402 substantiated cases of child neglect, up from 2,031 substantiated cases in July; 136 substantiated cases of child physical abuse, up from 119 in July; and 220 substantiated cases of child sexual abuse, down from July’s total of 249.
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.