Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

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March 31, 2013

Painting the town blue for child abuse awareness

(Continued)

"Half the children in the child protection system in Texas do not have CASA volunteers to advocate for them," she said. "Many fall through the cracks of an overburdened system, but the half who do have a CASA volunteer are more likely to grow up to be healthy, productive citizens."

Other area agencies and organizations will take part in the awareness campaign with blue ribbons and adornments across the community.

Typically, the Palo Pinto County Child Welfare Board has an annual balloon release, but a shortage of helium has curtailed this year's release. They would have had 176 blue balloons, representing abused children in the county in 2012, and one black balloon for a child that died at the hands of abuse. Instead, they will give out large blue ribbons for citizens to tie on flagpoles, fences and any visible locations around the county.

CPS Board Treasurer and Rainbow Room Coordinator Cheryl Berry researched the rise in child abuse cases in Palo Pinto County over the past decade. Based on the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, the county had the following confirmed victims of child abuse and/or neglect:

• 2002 – 62 cases.

• 2003 – 79 cases.

• 2004 – 94 cases.

• 2005 – 75 cases.

• 2006 – 95 cases.

• 2007 – 94 cases.

• 2008 – 100 cases.

• 2009 – 158 cases.

• 2010 – 160 cases.

• 2011 – 114 cases.

• 2012 – 176 cases.

Berry said that what stands out to her is that since 2008, the number of child victims of abuse and/or neglect has not been below 100.

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