Richards believes the tough economic times are responsible for the increase.
“People are stressed because of economics, and therefore, people take it out on their children.”
“Also, I think people becoming more aware of child abuse. People are recognizing it and reporting it,” added Stephanie Perez of Lutheran Child and Family Services. “That could be a reason for the increase in numbers.”
Richards said prevention education programs are presented in the region by her staff, and a case worker reported three incidents of alleged abuse/neglect from one school last week.
“That’s a lot. Percentage wise, it wouldn’t be that much, but three in a week for us is a lot.”