Child abuse numbers down, but severity increases PDF Print E-mail
Written by JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN Sentinel County Editor   
Thursday, 11 April 2013 10:43
File photo. David Obiezuoha, right, blows on a pinwheel before placing it. (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
The field of spinning pinwheels - each one representing a case of child abuse or neglect inspected in Wood County last year - will be a bit smaller this year.
But the lower number shouldn't be misread as a reason for relief.
When it stops raining, preschool children at First United Methodist Church in Bowling Green will plant 782 pinwheels in the ground in front of the East Wooster Street church. The blue and silver pinwheels are annual reminder of the number of abused and neglected children in the county. This year's number is 28 less than last year's 810 pinwheels.
"We're down slightly, but we had a lot more severe cases," explained Sandi Carsey, supervisor of Wood County Children's Services.
Last year, two children in the Bowling Green area died of their injuries, Carsey said. And in several of the investigations of abuse and neglect last year, the parents were found to be using heroin and opiates.
The pinwheels are also intended to serve as a reminder for local residents to not turn a blind eye toward abuse or neglect.
"Our goal is to get awareness for people to call our agency if they see a child or family in need," Carsey said.
Anyone wanting to report child abuse or neglect concerns may call Children's Services at (419) 354-9669.
This July, Children's Services agencies throughout the state will implement a new "alternative response" system when investigating cases.
The new process is intended to be less antagonistic. The approach recognizes the difference in severity between cases such as sexual abuse and those involving environmental neglect, Carsey explained. In some cases, a perpetrator will not be identified, and the investigation less accusatory.
"We're trying to find out how we can help them," she said.
But Carsey stressed that the changes do not mean Children's Services will take abuse or neglect less seriously.
"It's not Children's Services Light," she said. "Our whole goal is still child safety. That's paramount in any report we receive."

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