|For Immediate Release
April 12, 1999
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In 1998, 11 children in Lake County died of abuse and neglect said Lake County Division of Family Children director, Bruce Hillman, at the recent Ninth Annual Forum of Child Abuse and Neglect at Indiana University Northwest. In 1999, there already have been 9 deaths.
With a focus on both a state and local level, Hillman and James Hmurovich, Indiana Division of Family and Children director spoke to a crowd of agency representatives, foster parents and concerned community members at the forum concerning issues and goals regarding child abuse and neglect in Indiana.
They also presented statistics concerning the 1998 deaths, including the additional 54 children who died of abuse and neglect in other parts of the state.
“The more information we have, the better decisions we can make to prevent this from occurring,” said Hillman.
Part of the state goal is to continue increasing prevention services through education, information, collaboration and providing safe environments for children whom are at risk.
“We want to phase out the ‘take care of things after they happen’ view,” says Hmurovich who adds that money for prevention has increased significantly since 1993 by shifting available money “to the front end” of prevention instead of after the fact. Other goals include keeping foster children in the same county or state they reside in, fine-tuning a statewide abuse registry, creating a child fatality information process and continuing to make sure the system acts out of the best interest of the child. Hmurovich also contends that if prevention doesn’t work, steps will be taken to remove children from the home.
“Our goals are to always act in the best interest of the child, to always make sure the child is safe, and to move forward as quickly as reasonably possible for permanence in the child’s life,” says Hmurovich. “The minute you say family reunification or family preservation - what you’ve done is remove other options that are in the best interest of the child.”
The child abuse and neglect forum is sponsored annually by the IU Northwest Division of Public & Environmental Affairs and Political Science. For more information contact Richard Hug at 219-980-6838.