During 2011, WCCS saw the number of its children in care increase sharply and the number of referrals accepted for investigation increase as well. In 2011, the agency investigated 1,211 complaints of alleged child abuse or neglect, an increase of 3.5 percent over 2010. Those complaints, though, resulted in a spike in children being placed in custody.
Through 2009 and 2010, WCCS averaged between 96-104 children temporarily placed in care of the agency. Since the beginning of 2011 and though the first nine months of 2012, that number has averaged 120 children in custody and at times exceeded 130 children in care of the agency.
Neglect was by far the largest concern mentioned in complaints to the agency, representing 45 percent of the contacts (545). There were 274 physical abuse complaints, 143 complaints concerning sexual abuse and 113 alleging emotional maltreatment. Those four areas represented nearly 90 percent of those 1211 calls to the agency in 2011.
There is no time off in this job as well. The agency is on-call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and will immediately respond to any emergencies when contacted. These investigations may take between 14 and 45 days to complete, and in extreme cases will end up in having children removed from their parentsí care through a court order or by a law-enforcement officer.
The agency works to keep children in a family setting by placing them with other family members to help offset financial costs to taxpayers. If that cannot be arranged, children are placed in the care of one of its 47 foster homes aligned with the agency. That is an area where the agency is actively seeking additional homes.
For information concerning the foster parenting program or other programs sponsored by WCCS, call 330-345-5340.
Gloria Questel is the Social Service Administrator for Wayne County Children Services.
Published: October 5, 2012