DHR director: Abuse of 600 children reported last year

Published 2:18 pm Saturday, October 21, 2017

Covington County DHR and law enforcement responded to 371 reports of child-abuse related concerns in the last fiscal year.

DHR Director Lesa Syler said there are two levels of reports –prevention or child abuse and neglect.

“That involves just over 600 children,” she said.

Syler explained that her staff of approximately 17 in the child welfare department work to establish safety for the children.

“Whenever we receive a report, we work hand-in-hand with law enforcement and the children go to the Child Advocacy Center,” she said. “Interviews are conducted and counseling is provided there. In the past, we had to access these services in Dothan or they had to come to my office or at the police station. These are not places that were conducive for what we need for children.”

The CAC is child-friendly and makes the process much easier on the victims.

According to the 2017 Kids Count Data Book, Alabama saw the number of reports of child abuse and/or neglect increase from 7.8 in FY 2015 to 9.5 in FY 2016. Nearly 40,000 reports involving just over 10,157 child victims were investigated. Child abuse or neglect in any

form can have lasting consequences that can last a lifetime.

Statewide, there were 44,447 allegations of abuse or neglect in Alabama in 2016, representing 10,157 child victims. Of those:

  • 572 cases of medical neglect.
  • 18,392 cases of neglect or deprivation of necessities
  • 20,315 cases of physical abuse
  • 252 cases of psychological or emotional maltreatment
  • 4,916 allegations of sexual abuse.

The 2017 Alabama Kids Count Data Book was produced by VOICES for Alabama Children. VOICES for Alabama’s Children is a statewide nonprofit organization that works to promote policies that positively impact the lives of children.