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New Report Kicks off Child Abuse Prevention Month in Ohio

April 1, 2009

Columbus, OH – It's Child Abuse Prevention Month starting today, and some say there's no better time to reflect on how Ohio is faring when it comes to protecting children. In that regard, the Public Children Services Association of Ohio is releasing its ninth Biennial Factbook, a compilation of state and county data on child abuse and neglect.

Factbook project coordinator Greg Kapcar says Ohio is making great strides in many areas of child protection.

"We're seeing fewer children removed from their birth families, the total number of days the children are in placement has significantly declined, and over the years we've seen a steady decrease in the number of children in custody."

Kapcar says however that looking at the data shows many challenges remaining. There were more than 106,000 reports of child abuse, neglect and dependency assessed and investigated in 2007.

"That's a 14 percent increase in the number of reports of a child abuse and neglect from the last time we did our Factbook, which had data for 2005."

Kapcar says the data show the importance of having support programs in place that help families deal with the stresses of the economy, while also helping local governments deal with increased caseloads and reduced budgets.

To continue essential services, Kapcar says, $62 million that was zeroed out of the state budget needs to be restored.

"This represents local funding that is flexibly used to provide child welfare services, and in particular these dollars are important for half the counties in Ohio that do not sustain children's service levies."

Kapcar says Governor Ted Strickland and other state leaders are working to try to restore the money before the budget goes to the senate.

The entire Factbook report is online at www.pcsao.org

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH