Falling into foster care

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MACON COUNTY, Ill. (WAND) - Court Appointed Special Advocates departments in Champaign and Sangamon counties say the number of children entering foster care in their counties is the same amount as last year. 

Those numbers are rising in Macon County.
It's a crisis in Central Illinois. Reports of abuse and neglect among children are hitting all-time highs. Reynesse Coleman, a C.A.S.A. program manager, says Macon County is not doing something right as a community. She says we are failing our children. 

Already this year, over 200 Macon County children entered into foster care. Last year 198 entered the foster care system. The Court Appointed Special Advocates Center projects nearly 300 Macon County children will go into foster care. 

Jean Moore, the director of Child First Center, says back when the Child First Center opened in 1999 they were seeing about 125 cases a year. This year in the first quarter from July to the end of September the center saw 97 kids. 

The Department of Children and Family Services says Macon County is one of the worst counties per capita in Illinois for child abuse and neglect.
Tanya Andricks, the CEO of Crossing Healthcare, says the evidence shows that when children are living in poverty they are more likely or they are predisposed where they can be in situations of abuse or neglect. 

DCFS claims 70 percent of abuse and neglect goes unreported. Moore says the effects of trauma on children depends on the length and the duration of the abuse. What kind of abuse was it? How close was the child to the accused perpetrator? She says when it comes to kids when they're abused by their parents or caregivers, that person was a position of trust. Moore explains some kids want out of this abuse.They might run away. However, on the flip side there are children who are scared of the unknown. They will deal with the abuse. They will keep the secret because they're scared and they are going to be put into foster care or they are scared they are going to be taken away. 

Numerous organizations are coming together to find a way to end childhood abuse and neglect. They are narrowing down to four categories that need to be further explored. Those include policy, education, support systems and new approaches. 

Anyone who sees a child being abused or knows a child in that situation should call law enforcement. 

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