Child abuse and neglect is a big problem in our region. According to Bristol, Virginia Police Chief Bill Price, every 10 days in Virginia a child dies from abuse or neglect. Price also says every 83 minutes a child is abused or neglected.
“The two major factors in child abuse are one parent families and drugs an alcohol,” said Chief Price.
DeeDra Branson, a detective in the Bristol, Virginia Police Department says the reason is saddening.
“Unfortunately their children are usually put on the back burner when it comes to partying and using dugs,” said Detective Branson.
Chief Price says it is an issue they are fighting more and more, because the drug addictions prevent parents from caring for their children properly.
“They create these children and then decide that they don't want to have anything to do with them,” said Chief Price.
Leslie Dalton, Executive Director for Court Appointed Special Advocates (C.A.S.A.) says she see's it all the time.
“Our common story is the parents are addicted to drugs. One particular case, his father had passed away and his mother had gotten on prescription drugs. The child was not getting to school. He was having a lot of anger issues,” said Dalton.
Dalton says the boy was taken away from his mother and was placed with family. She says she continued to help the boy and after a couple of years, she is happy to say…
“I have seen him. He's doing great. He's playing football in high school,” said Dalton.
Something that may not have happened without Dalton's help. Because as Chief Price says…
“If children are not plucked out of the environment, this situation, guess what, they're going to carry it on,” said Dalton.
Chief Price says the drugs most often involved in child abuse cases in our region are bath salts, methemphetamines and laboratory designed drugs. Price says if you suspect any child abuse, from hunger to mistreatment, call the police or child services. Chief Price says the last thing they want is for the abuse to go on.
If you would like to help abused and neglected children, Leslie Dalton says C.A.S.A. always welcomes volunteers. Dalton says there are 600 children in need of a C.A.S.A. volunteer's help in our region, and only about 400 are able to get it. You can call C.A.S.A. at 423.461.3500 or go to their web site casanetn.org.