PRINCETON, WV (WVNS) – This week, the West Virginia Child Advocacy Network (WVCAN) released their statewide data for 2021.
The data in the 2021 report comes from 21 Child Advocacy Centers (CACs) across the state, which cover 44 of the 55 counties. Child Advocacy Centers are places designed to be safe, child-friendly facilities where child treatment professionals work to investigate abuse and help children heal.
According to Child Protect of Mercer County, this year CACs stayed open and were able to help 4,604 children – a 40 percent increase in new children served in the last five years. Locally, Child Protect of Mercer County’s CAC saw 223 new children, which is 22.5 percent higher than the number of children assisted last year.
Some of the key data points from Child Protect’s report include:
- 68 percent of the children who received forensic interviews at Child Protect disclosed being a victim of abuse
- 114 children initiated mental health counseling services at the CAC in 2021
- 98 percent of alleged child abuse offenders were someone the child knew
- 40 child abuse cases were criminally charged, a nearly 90% increase from last year
- 96 percent of parents/caregivers surveyed said that if they knew another family in a similar situation, they would refer them to Child Protect of Mercer County
Beth Sizemore, the CAC Program Director spoke on the approach Mercer County takes to combat child abuse.
“Child Protect of Mercer County is part of a Multi-Disciplinary Team that works together to listen to children, provide support through therapy and advocacy services, and bring justice and healing. We couldn’t do what we do without the hard work of Mercer County Child Protective Services (DHHR), the Mercer County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, law enforcement, and other community partners.”