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Child abuse, neglect cases on the rise in Tulsa County

The Parent Child Center of Tulsa displays 2,680 pinwheels outside its office to represent the number of child abuse and neglect cases in Tulsa County for 2016. (KTUL)

TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) – Tulsa County had 2,680 substantiated cases of child abuse or neglect in 2016. Professionals with The Parent Child Center of Tulsa said the latest numbers are up by more than 1,000 cases from 2015. The local organization explained the alarming increase, after mentioning the number of cases in the state are declining.

“I think speaks to many issues in the community—perhaps substance abuse has a lot to do with it, perhaps just services in general are being kind of rolled back and there’s less support for families now than there was a few years ago,” said Carrie Little, director of external relations for The Parent Child Center of Tulsa.

April is the National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Little mentioned the Tulsa Mayor also issued a proclamation for the city. All month long, the Child Center will display 2,680 pinwheels to create awareness about the issue and also do more community outreach to offer resources for families looking for help.

“It takes a community to raise a child and these kids are our future and we have every responsibility of making sure that kids have just wonderful, abuse free childhoods and we can make this happen,” said Little. “If you feel like somebody is struggling reach out and know that there are community resources for them to get help before something happens.”

Little said the Child Center may run into a financial bind, as legislators look to save the state money. She explained 28 percent of their budget, funded by the state, is now at risk. If dollars are cut, Little said they fear Tulsa County’s abuse and neglect cases could soar even higher.

“We’ve been contacting or legislators and educating our legislators just as much as we can to get that word out about how important those allocation of dollars are,” said Little.

Anyone who thinks a child is being abused or neglected, or may be a struggling parent looking for guidance, is strongly encouraged to call the Oklahoma Hotline at 800-522-3511.

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