Child Abuse & Neglect Continues to Increase In Mesa County
KREX News Room
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.- Child abuse and neglect continues to be a problem but especially in Mesa County, as it ranks higher than the State of Colorado.
"What happens a lot; people say 'I wish I would have reported that but I wasn't sure if it was abuse," said Jill Calvert, division director of child welfare services in Mesa County.
According to the most recent Kids Count Report In Colorado, child abuse and neglect affects 8.3 percent of children from newborns to age 18.
"Mesa County is at 11.3 percent, so we're three percent higher than the state as a whole," said Calvert.
The numbers continue to increase. According to the Child Welfare Trend Data, last year 470 children fell victim to abuse or neglect, resulting in three deaths.
Officials say child abuse is defined by the Colorado children's code
which includes emotional, physical, and or sexual abuse, and neglect.
"A lot of times when there's neglect, a lot of things can happen when children are left with people they don't know very well. That's when sex abuse happens. So really, neglect is what we see the most," said Calvert.
The Mesa County Department of Human Services is constantly making sure their practice is consistent, evidence based, and more preventative than reactive.
"Mesa County was one of the first to be involved in what they call the Colorado Practice Model and it basically defines best practice for child welfare," said Calvert.
After applying all the programs, the Department of Human Services will evaluate the community.
"Every community has a different footprint. We look different here in Mesa County than Boulder looks, Larimer County, then Denver," said Calvert.
Officials with the Department of Human Services say parents should not be afraid to make a report, or call the hotline for help.
"There's a lot of things we can do to help mitigate safety issues while the children remain in the home," said Calvert.
The Mesa County Department of Human Services hotline number is (970)-242-1211.
April is child abuse prevention month. There will be many child abuse prevention agencies getting the word out about abuse and how the community can participate in helping stop it.