INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Dec. 26, 2014) - Indianapolis is in the midst of a child abuse crisis revealed by new, startling statistics out of Marion County.
Child Advocates of Marion County is an organization that helps find safe homes for abused and neglected children. In 2014, that has proven to be an incredibly tough task.
"The fact is, Indianapolis has had a 30 percent increase in cases from 2013-2014," said Cindy Booth, the organization's executive director. The number of children that equates to, said Booth, is astonishing, "We will, at child advocates, have represented over 6,000 children just in Marion County alone."
What's to blame for the uptick?
"Those stressors that have always affected child abuse and neglect; poverty, lack of education, mental illness, substance abuse, domestic violence, all of those things boil over and so the child is the victim in those cases," said Booth.
Booth said the sheer number of cases has gotten to be too much for the system to even handle, "A 30 percent increase overwhelms everyone in the system and so we all need more resources."
As Booth can recall, 2014 has been one of the worst years for child abuse in Indiana, that she can remember.
“I mean the body appeared to me to be very similar or worse than what I’ve seen from holocaust survivors," said Rodney Cummings, the Madison County Prosecutor back on December 2.
He was referring to reports of what was one of the most disturbing child abuse cases in Madison County history.
Steve and Joetta Sells, both face charges after a 15-year-old girl in their care was brought to the hospital weighing under 40 pounds. As of Friday, Anderson police said she has been taken off a ventilator and is still clinging to life.
“What she suffered is certainly beyond disturbing and there’s no question about what it is that happened to her," said Kristina Korobov, the Supervisor of Marion County’s Special Victims Team on December 12.
She was referring to a Marion County couple, arrested in Tennessee and charged with the murder of the woman's nine month old baby girl. Court documents revealed she was killed from blunt force trauma.
“The first time I got up and I pushed her head back and then I sat there drinking and then she kept doing it and I kept pushing her head back into the corner," and that was Freddie Bailey on December 24.
He was charged with neglect and aggravated battery, after police said he beat a three year old girl so badly, the child is being kept on life support so her organs can be donated.
Your help is needed. If you want to be a CASA volunteer, a court appointed special advocate, or a foster parent, contact Child Advocates of Marion County. Volunteers are needed. They can also be reached by phone at (317)205-3055.