Children in crisis: Cleveland County ranks high in reported child abuse, low in graduation
SHELBY, NORTH CAROLINA — Cleveland County children are worse off than children in nearly three-fourths of other North Carolina counties. Cleveland County ranks 72 out of the state’s 100 counties in a recent report highlighting 10 wellness indicators, according to “A Roadmap to Need” report released by the Public School Forum’s Center for Afterschool Programs. Cleveland County scored lower than Gaston County, which ranked 62nd, but higher than Rutherford County, which ranked 92nd, according to the report. The report ranked counties on indicators including, graduation rates, the number of children in Department of Social Services custody and number of reported cases of child abuse and neglect.
“We are using this as roadmap in a call to action for policy makers and funders to serve as a tool on where we need more investments for children services across the state,” said Jamie Knowles, director of the program that issued the report. Knowles said the report signifies there is a critical need for children’s services in communities. And working together at the local and state levels can create change.
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By the time you finish reading this, 15 children will have been abused; In the next five minutes, 30 more; Within the next hour, 360 more; And by tonight, close to 8,000+ children will have suffered from abuse, 5 of which will die. Child abuse has increased 134% since 1980 and is now considered a worldwide epidemic. The high jump in child abuse deaths and the shocking increase in statistics highlights the frightening lack of public knowledge.
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It May Just Save a Child's Life!!