Abuse victims remembered

Published 5:57 am Saturday, April 29, 2017

April is Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month, and before the month was over, the Washington Parish Department of Children and Family Services said they’d reached their goal of collecting $200 to help spread the awareness of the problem.

The local DCFS offered three ways to support the cause as part of its “Pinwheels for Prevention Pranking” program, which involved putting 200 pinwheels on a person’s property.

First, anyone could make a one-time monetary donation. Second, people could pay $10 to have someone in Washington Parish “pinwheeled.” Third, people could opt out of the pranking by paying $10 to ensure their site stays pinwheel-free.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 12,631 of Louisiana’s 1.1 million children were victims of abuse or neglect in 2015. In that same year, 39 fatalities were attributed to child abuse and neglect in the state.

In Washington Parish alone, from April 2016 through April 2017, there were 731 reports of abuse or neglect, of which 320 were accepted and investigated, said Leigh Anne Taylor, program manager.

Currently in Louisiana there are 4,897 ongoing investigations, and 77 of them are in Washington Parish, she said.

Taylor urged anyone interested in becoming a foster parent to call the Home Development Unit at 985-893-6225, or to call any local DCFS office.