Indiana Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline received nearly 250,000 reports in 2017, report says

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A new report by the Indiana Youth Institute highlighted child abuse and neglect in the Hoosier State. It said the Indiana Department of Child Services’ hotline received nearly 250,000 reports in 2017. The numbers went down slightly in 2018, according to DCS.

In 2017, the Indiana Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline received an average of more than one report every two minutes.

“We constantly have allegations like this under investigation,” said Kent Eastwood, Boone County Prosecutor.

Eastwood said these investigations used to be rare but now he’s seeing a disturbing uptick in child abuse cases. They used to see around 10 of these cases a year and he said it increased to 20 or more.

Last August, a Lebanon couple was arrested on neglect charges. Court documents said their 4-month-old suffered more than a dozen fractures.

“Obviously sad,” he said. “You cannot understand how a person could hurt an innocent child.”

These cases land on his desk after he gets notification from the Department of Child Services. Anyone can report suspected child abuse or neglect by calling the hotline. More people may be taking advantage of it.

According to Indiana Youth Institute’s report, the number of reports made to it has increased by more than 55 percent since 2013.

“I also think it is more awareness. I think the Department of Child Services has made sure to be out there and more aware so people know the hotline is available,” said Rene Elsbury with Families First.

Families First offers several preventative services like parenting education and therapy.

“If they do get a call and maybe it wasn’t substantiated case, that we can make sure nothing like that can ever occur again,” she said.

The hotline received roughly 1,500 fewer calls last year than in 2017, according to Indiana Department of Child Services. Indiana is a mandatory reporting state. You can remain anonymous.

If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, call Indiana’s Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline today. The number is 1-800-800-5556.

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