Child Abuse cases down, but epidemic remains
SAN ANTONIO, TX – In the past five years, confirmed cases of child abuse in Bexar County are down 28%.
The new finding comes from a report that will be released Tuesday by the Bexar County Health Collaborative on the state of health care in our area.
In addition to child abuse data, the report will include new numbers for problems like obesity and mental health. It will be the document elected leaders will refer to when making new policies.
The fact that confirmed cases of child abuse are down proves new initiatives are working, but child advocates point out some children are still suffering in silence.
“It’s in the west side, the south side, the north side, the east side. It’s all over,” grandmother Delia Martinez says.
Thousands of children are living in dangerous households. Martinez and her colleague Mercedes Bristol both took in their grandchildren after the situations were reported.
“CPS got involved in neglect and abuse,” Bristol says.
The women now run the support group Grandparents Raising Grandchildren.
“You look at their faces. You see the despair, the hopelessness, the fear,” Martinez says.
The Health Collaborative’s new report offers encouraging news, but child advocates caution we can’t let our guards down: the statistics only include cases that have been reported.
“There’s a large percentage of families that are going out there unserved, unrecognized, undocumented that this data doesn’t show,” the nonprofit’s director Elizabeth Lutz says.
Here’s what the data does show: child advocates are doing a better job working together, but more funding is needed to raise awareness.
“People are making a bigger effort in the nonprofit community to get the message out there – being sure that you report it,” Randy McGibeny with ChildSafe says. “It doesn’t matter who you report to. Just make the report if you suspect that there’s child abuse.”
Meanwhile, grandparents are using grassroots efforts to get the community involved.
“We’re knocking on doors. We’re talking to people,” Martinez says. “Trying to get the different companies, organizations, nonprofits and everybody else we can think of to look at the problem and start working with us.”