Child Protection Services Cases on the Rise

By: Laura Speakman
By: Laura Speakman

It's a growing problem that's putting local children in danger. Child protective services in Harrisonburg city and Rockingham County handled more than 800 cases last year. That's a drastic increase from just eight years ago.

Beth Lawler has spent nine years with the Harrisonburg-Rockingham County Child Protective Services. Beth says as the local drug problem has increased so has the number of child protective cases.

"When folks are spending their money on drugs and they're not, they're under the influence of something they're more likely to neglect their children or more likely not to be aware of the issues of their children," said Beth Lawler, Harrisonburg-Rockingham Child Protective Services, Supervisor.

In 1995, 334 child protection services cases were reported. Last year, that number was 860. That's a 258-percent increase. Meanwhile, the areas population went up only 15-percent leaving the department looking for more help.

"The more staff we have, the more people we can help with the problems they are facing; that's something were definitely hoping to do and always depends on what money is available to do that," said Lawler.

Lawler says the work closely with the drug task force to make them aware of the cases. They also work with the community services to get those family members in treatment.


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