Reports of child abuse and neglect are on the rise in Central and Southern Illinois. A new report by the Department of Children and Family Services shows a 5.4 percent increase in reports of abused and neglected children across Downstate Illinois. According to the Child Abuse and Neglect Statistical Report, the state’s Child Abuse Hotline received 25,348 reports of suspected abuse or neglect involving Downstate children from July through October of this year, compared to 24,053 reports during the same period last year.
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Data compiled by Northwestern University shows that there were 91 reported cases of abuse or neglect statewide last year for every 100,000 children. Additionally, 35 counties showed abuse and neglect rates more than double the statewide average. Those counties are Adams, Clark, Clay, Crawford, Edgar, Franklin, Fulton, Gallatin, Hamilton, Henderson, Jackson, Jefferson, Knox, Lawrence, Livingston, Logan, Macon, Macoupin, Marion, Mason, Mercer, Morgan, Pulaski, Richland, Rock Island, Saline, Shelby, Stark, Union, Wabash, Warren, Wayne, White, Winnebago and Vermillion. John Schnier, director of children services for Lutheran Social Services of Illinois, says there is no one reason for the uptick in reports, although some speculate the slow-to-recover economy is a factor.