Child neglect cases on the rise in Jonesboro

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT)- A Jonesboro woman will be in court Tuesday for child neglect after leaving her kids the in car.

According to Jonesboro Police Department, child neglect cases are on the rise. From 2011 to 2012, Jonesboro Police had 39 cases of abuse. From 2012 to 2013, there have been 52 reported child abuse cases.

"A lot of young parents feel like because of today's technology that they can leave their children by themselves," said Sgt. Doug Formon with Jonesboro Police Department.

Formon said they are seeing more cases where parents are unknowingly putting their kids in danger.

"Then you just obviously have a lot of people who are just neglecting their children, if you take someone who is leaving a 3 or 4 year old behind at the house by themselves as they go to the store and come back, we're seeing a lot of that," he said.

Formon said there needs to be more education for young mothers, which is where Paces Inc.  comes in the picture.

Portia Williams is a case manager at Paces Inc. and said they teach young mothers how to be good parents.

"We work with pregnant and parenting teenagers ages 11 to 25. We do case management and community based needs," Williams said. "Parents are not aware of what actually abuse is or neglect."

Williams said they make sure young mothers understand that their actions have an impact on their child.

"Helping promote self-sufficiency for young moms," Williams said. "As a teenager I know that they're nervous and scared about becoming a parent."

Formon said child endangerment is a very serious offense.

"If it's a Class D felony where you're looking at prison time and a lot of fines but basically a lot of prison time," Formon said.

And like the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child.

"We as a community has to watch out for our children, we have to work together," he said.

A new report from the Institute of Medicine shows child neglect account for 75 percent of reported abuse cases. Just last week, a panel of experts at the Institute of Medicine confirmed that physical and sexual abuse of children has gone down over the past 20 years, but reports of neglect have gone up.

According to data from the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data, about three-quarters of reported cases in 2011 were classified as neglect.

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