Names cover the walls of CASA Child Advocates. They are the names of children in our community that were once victims of abuse and now they are used as a reminder, posted around the Wichita Falls office. Each of these names holds a story and represents a family.
With no end in sight to America's economic concerns, the number of children abused continues to rise.
"It really seems like most of the cases that we get can all be traced back to financial problems because the families are stressed out about not having a stable income usually," says CASA employee Samantha Suttle.
Samantha works as the Education and Outreach Specialist at CASA, but she also handles family cases. She says that the financial stresses of the parents often times turn into unhealthy behaviors like the use of alcohol and drugs to help them cope and these behaviors bring harm to children.
"The parents get stressed out about their job or losing their job and the kids are the ones that pick up the fall from that,"says Samantha.
This year the number of abuse and neglect cases brought to CASA by Child Protective Services has grown significantly.
"118 is a lot. It's a lot of cases and obviously it's going up every year. It's not going down," she adds.
Here in Texoma cases vary from physical abuse, sexual abuse and even child deaths. It's the organization's goal to step in and help parents make the changes needed to bring the family back together.
If you are aware or suspicious of child abuse, you can visit the Texas Abuse Hotline online or call 1(800)252-5400.