Member of SCAN calls number of child abuse and neglect deaths in Allen County “devastating”

Published: Jan. 3, 2023 at 11:10 PM EST
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) - Tuesday I talked with a member of SCAN - an organization in Fort Wayne with the mission of eliminating child abuse and neglect.

“It was, I mean, a devastating number for our community and something that, I think, should be a concern for all of us,” Lisa Blanchard, Vice President of Prevention Services at SCAN, said.

Devastating. That’s how Lisa Blanchard describes the number of child abuse and neglect deaths in Allen County. Blanchard works at SCAN in Fort Wayne.

“It’s a great call to action, I think, for our community to come together and support families,” Blanchard said.

The Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS) just released a report showing Allen County had the most child abuse and neglect deaths in the state in 2021.

For Blanchard, it’s a devastating problem with heartbreaking consequences.

“Indiana has been high across the nation when you compare states for child abuse,” Blanchard said.

It’s also an issue Fort Wayne has struggled with for years. In 2019, DCS found that Allen County ranked second in Indiana for child abuse and neglect deaths. It ranked third in 2018.

“I think what concerns me about that is the continued trend at that level and seeing the change that needs to come from the community,” Blanchard said.

But what factors play into this trend?

DCS says some factors include a history of substance abuse, unemployment, improper sleeping arrangements and others. Blanchard agrees and also says the COVID-19 pandemic could have led to more cases.

“I think one of the biggest impacts that lingers from COVID is isolation,” Blanchard said. “We are so isolated from one another.”

Blanchard insists the problem needs immediate resolving, which is something SCAN is working toward.

“I always just encourage people to call us at (260) 421-5000 and talk to the person that answers the phone and let them know what you’re looking for,” Blanchard said. “We have so many different services that they’ll be able to help connect you to the right place.”

Along with calling SCAN, you can also call the Indiana Child Abuse and Neglect hotline at 1-800-800-5556.