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Kiwanis club hears update from DFCS

The Kiwanis Club of Bainbridge met Thursday afternoon, with Jackie Bridges and Amy Eakin from DFCS speaking. They gave various statistics and updates on cases in Decatur County.

According to the two, there are currently 49 children in foster care in Decatur County, and there have been 99 cases of neglect or abuse so far this year, 46 of which required law enforcement involvement. In 2019, there were a total of 110 of these more serious cases, and 246 in 2020. Eakin and Bridges attribute this increase to children and families spending more time at home due to COVID, giving abusive guardians increased access to children.

Eakin encouraged people who may suspect abuse to still report, saying, “Even if you don’t know, if you think, and it’s in good faith, report anyway.”

Other topics briefly mentioned included young adult’s ability to re-admit themselves into foster care between the ages of 18 and 21. There are conditions for this, namely that the youth must be enrolled in college or have a certain level of employment. The status of pre-existing abuse and neglect cases awaiting trial was aslo mentioned, with many still awaiting trial due to covid restrictions delaying all trials.

The Decatur DFCS office can be reached at (229) 248-2420. To report child abuse, call 1-855-422-4453.