Potter county is working towards decreasing child abuse cases - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Potter county is working towards decreasing child abuse cases

Amarillo, TX - One local county is working towards lowering their number of child abuse cases.

According to Family Support Services, Potter County is rated number one in the state of Texas per capita for the most child abuse cases. And after receiving a grant of over $600,000 from the state, intervention child abuse services will now be provided.

"Teen pregnancy, childhood fatalities, poverty," says Jim Womack, Executive Director of FSS.

Those are just a few situations where there could be a child abuse case. "What we are trying to do is get in there and build some resilience in the family and show them healthy ways to live so children won't grow up to be abusers," says Womack.

According to CPS around 33,000 children live in Potter County. In 2013 alone--there were over 2,000 child abuse cases. So now Family Support Services is making renovations after recently receiving a grant-- that will go towards hiring 7 employees including 5 parent educators that will personally visit with struggling families.

"Home visitation is something that's new and really using parents as teachers is exciting because this program has created so many successful outcomes throughout the country and so initially we contacted so many other people who were doing this program and the success stories were unbelievable." says Brandi Reed, Education Director

Free services will be provided to families who are eligible: They must live in Potter county and have a child who is between a newborn up until the age of five. "So important for us to prevent child abuse and neglect because that's when we know it's going to happen when they are little and when they are babies, first time when they are abused it's going to be when they are zero to five," says Reed.

The parent educators are partnered with the Amarillo School District along with other community partners to help identify families who may be at risk. "I think it's going to have a huge impact on these families," says Womack.

Family Support Services says they hope to start working with families within the next couple of weeks.
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