Child abuse on the rise, officials looking for answers

It’s been busy at the Wichita Children’s Home this year. Last year the organization served more than 1400 children from newborns to 17 years old, even though the vast majority of those children go home with additional services being doled out, they’re saying the problem is still growing.

“In April we usually average about sixty 0 to 12 year olds, because 0 to 12 year olds go to foster homes after they come through our doors,” said Sarah Robinson with Wichita Children’s Home, “this April it was 87.”)

And if you look at the numbers, the caseload for the exploited and missing child unit reflects that. They investigated more than 500 sex crimes last year, nearly 700 abuse or endangerment cases, and 1600 runaways.

“We see it climbing, and speaking with the people at EMCU, these numbers are going up,” said Sedgwick County Undersheriff Dave Bartezbain.

Officials say there are many reasons why there have been more cases, including more people being aware of the signs of child abuse.

“When people hear about these things happening it prompts people to report things as well,” said Bartezbain.

But there are other factors at play and meetings are happening in Topeka and locally to try and narrow down the causes.

“We can’t really put our finger on anything,” said Robinson, “we think it’s a little bit of everything, poverty, folks not having a job, drug, alcohol, anger management, its just a little bit of everything”

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