Kane group steps up child abuse reporting awareness

 
 
Updated 12/10/2013 5:05 PM
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  • Joe McMahon

    Joe McMahon

Kane County authorities and other groups are stepping up awareness for people to report possible child abuse and neglect.

Officials from Kane County CASA, or Court Appointed Special Advocates, plan a greater push in 2014 at churches, schools and other community organizations as cases of abuse and neglect have risen the recession.

"Go with your gut," said Gloria Bunce, executive director at CASA, who provides specially trained guardians for abused children. "You don't lose anything and that child loses everything."

The hotline for anonymous reports to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is (800) 252-2873.

According to the Kane County State's Attorney's Office, the number of child abuse and neglect cases increased 96 percent from 2009 to 2012.

There have been cases involving 131 children to date this year. There were 149 children involved in cases opened in 2012.

In 2011, 142 children were involved in new cases. That number was 114 in 2010 and 90 in 2009, according to the state's attorney's office.

CASA is working with the Kane County Regional Office of Education, DCFS and the Child Advocacy Center, which investigates crimes against children for the state's attorney's office.

"We want to be able to get out and distribute this information with agencies that work directly with children," Bunce said. "As an everyday neighbor, friend, sister, brother, whoever you are, you have the responsibility. If you suspect abuse and neglect, you make that call."

CASA officials want to work with churches and other entities to encourage people to report abuse. Under state law, there are "mandated reporters" who are required to report abuse. This outreach would be for everyday residents.

"There are a lot of people that still don't understand that anybody can call the DCFS hotline and report child abuse and neglect," State's Attorney Joe McMahon said.

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