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  News  


Elected officials and community leaders join DCFS director in State's first walk against child abuse and neglect

Chicago, IL (April 16, 2004) - On Saturday, April 17, DCFS will host its first Walk and Rally Against Child Abuse and Neglect in the Austin and Lawndale communities to mark Child Abuse Prevention Month. The event will help raise awareness of the need to prevent all forms of abuse and neglect against children. Information will be available at several tables staffed by a variety of agencies and organizations that provide services to children and families.

"It is vital that we take this very important message of prevention directly into the community," said Bryan Samuels, DCFS Director. "Our goal is to empower families with information and supportive services to help them make their homes and communities safer for children."

The walk will begin at noon at the intersection of Congress Parkway and Independence Boulevard, and continue through the Westside community to finish at the Garfield Park Fieldhouse (Gold Dome), located at 100 N. Central Park. A press conference will begin at 2 p.m. at the Fieldhouse. Among those joining Director Samuels at the press conference will be U. S. Congressman Danny K. Davis - 7th District, State Representative Annazette Collins - 10th District, and other Austin and Lawndale community leaders.

"Statewide, the number of children abused or neglected continues to decline, but the numbers in communities like Lawndale and Austin indicate that there is still much more work to be done," said Director Samuels. "We must all work together to make sure everyone involved can help educate and support families in their prevention efforts."

In the Austin community, 1,720 children were alleged to have been abused or neglected in fiscal year 2000. Of those, 491 were found by DCFS to have been abused or neglected. During that same time, there were 1,677 children in the North and South Lawndale communities combined alleged to have been abused or neglected. Of those 457 were found by DCFS investigators to have been abused or neglected.

In comparison to the most recent complete fiscal year, the numbers show a slight decline. In the Austin community, 1,516 children were alleged to have been abused or neglected in fiscal year 2003. Of those, 415 were found by DCFS to have been abused or neglected. During that same time, there were 1,325 children in the North and South Lawndale communities combined alleged to have been abused or neglected. Of those 354 were found by DCFS investigators to have been abused or neglected.

There has been a steady decline in alleged reports and confirmed reports of child abuse and neglect in recent years. In fiscal year 2003, there were 97,453 children reported abused or neglected; 27,590 were found abused or neglected by DCFS investigators. This compares to fiscal year 2000 when 103,578 children were reported abused or neglected; 32,713 of those were found by DCFS to be abused or neglected. Protective custodies remain steady with 5,060 children taken into protective custody in fiscal year 2003 compared to 5,074 children statewide removed from their home in fiscal year 2000.

Earlier this month, DCFS joined with Prevent Child Abuse Illinois and others to hold kick-off events in Chicago and Springfield to recognize programs statewide that have shown exemplary work in preventing child abuse, and to announce several events scheduled statewide for the month to help bring awareness to the issue of child protection.

"Preventing child abuse should be a year-round priority, not just during the month of April," said DCFS Director Samuels. "That's why it is so important for agencies and organizations to get the message out that by working together, we can keep children safe from harm."

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Contact:
Jill Manuel
Illinois Department of Children and Family Services
312-814-6847

 

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