Child abuse cases on the rise in SC - FOX Carolina 21

Child abuse cases on the rise in SC

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(file/FOX Carolina) (file/FOX Carolina)
GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

DSS says just last year 28 children died from abuse.

Local agencies that work with parents and offenders of abuse say drug and alcohol use is causing the numbers to grow, as well as a lack of education when it comes to parenting.

Last year alone there were over 40,000 child abuse and neglect complaints in the state. We spoke with the executive director at Greenville Family Partnership who's staff works with clients that DSS has sent to them.

She says they've had many success stories, but says preventing these cases in the first place is where the focus needs to be.

"They have a lot of questions sometimes and to be honest they're usually a little bit upset or angry... They feel like they know how to be a parent or they think they're doing the best they can."

Carol Reeves is the executive director of Greenville Family Partnership. She says they will get the parents or whoever has been sent to them, on a schedule in their six different classes.

"They're tested at the end, they have homework, and we try hard to make it very interactive with them."

Reeves says they have recently seen an increase in people they are providing classes to.

These are the number of children that have died from abuse:

In 2013, there were 25 deaths; In 2014, there were 22, and last year it went up to 28. The number of reported child abuse and neglect complaints to DSS has gone up. 

In 2012, there were over 27,000; In 2014, just under 31,000, and last year it jumped to 40,000 complaints. 

"I think O could easily say 9o percents of the parents that come through our classes say, 'if I had only known this with my first one,' or 'if I had only known this, I wouldn't be in this mess'."

Reeves says one of the first topics they cover in their classes is how drugs and alcohol affect parenting.

"The numbers are expanding because there's a lot of opioid use, that's epidemic and meth use, and that's going up in Greenville County, so that's going to affect how you care for your children, you can't think clear, your mind has been hijacked."

Although there have been tragic stories in the Upstate, like the Pickens mother that shot and killed her two children who was recently convicted, Reeves says a very small percentage of the cases they see, are malicious in nature.

"They love their children... they're dysfunctional, they're basically sick."

But she says there needs to be more prevention, rather then fixing damage that's already been done.

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