ILLINOIS – The Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) says that five counties on the Illinois side of the Quad Cities have child abuse and neglect rates that are more than double the statewide average.
The counties are Henderson, Knox, Mercer, Rock Island, and Warren counties. It means that one in 50 kids there are being abused.
“Teen mothers could be a reason,” Quad Cities Child Abuse Council Executive Director Sue Swisher said of why the numbers are so high. “They’re young, inexperienced. They have few supports to help them out.”
Besides teen mothers, Swisher also says that poverty and unmarried mothers could be a reason for why more children are being abused. Half of the women who gave birth in Rock Island County this year were not married.
“Those mothers don’t have another parent, another adult to relieve them when the baby is fussy and when things get tough,” Swisher said.
In 2011, DCFS was so busy it had to call 60 % of its callers back. To combat child abuse, Swisher says the Child Abuse Council of the Quad Cities needs to find stressed out parents quicker.
DCFS Spokesperson Dave Clarkin says the DCFS is also asking for another $38 million to hire more employees. The toll-free number for the DCFS is 1-800-25-ABUSE.
editor’s note: In the original version of this report, we identified Sue Swisher DCFS Executive Director. Ms. Swisher is the Executive Director of the Quad Cities Child Abuse Council. We apologize for the error.