Report: Indiana child abuse cases have doubled in last decade

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- The number of child abuse cases in Indiana has doubled in the last ten years, according to a recent report by the Indiana Office of Court Services.

The report says there were 17,491 cases of child abuse or neglect in 2015.  That represents a 97 percent increase from 2006. If you were to divide that number evenly throughout the course of a year, it would come to roughly 47 cases per day.

“This is like a tsunami for children in the child welfare system,” Sharon Pierce of The Villages said.

Pierce says the number of cases her office has seen can only be described as “unprecedented.” She says currently there are roughly 22,000 children within the child welfare system. 8,000 of those children have been added within the last 2 years.

“We have never seen a need greater than it is right now,” she said.

Child welfare workers say the majority of cases are due to drug and alcohol abuse by parents, which has also seen a large spike here in recent years.

“Its opioids, its prescription drugs, its meth, it really depends where you are in the state,” James Wide with the Department of Child Services said.

Wide says finding a solution to Indiana’s drug problem will ultimately be crucial to reducing child abuse/ neglect numbers.

As for  Pierce, she says right now the biggest thing people can do to help is become foster parents. Currently she says there is a shortage of foster homes available. She’s encouraging anyone who can to look into the process of becoming one by visiting villages.org.

For a complete look at the Indiana Office of Court Services report, you can click here.