Dec 13, 2011 12:15 AM by John Romero
27 year old Melissa Alexander is accused killing her boyfriend's 1 year old baby daughter. It happened back in November when police say the baby was found unconscious and not breathing while in Alexander's care. The baby died this weekend and now Alexander faces 1st degree murder charges. As awful as this is, it's part of a much bigger problem in El Paso County. "This is the 3rd year in a row that we've had higher numbers than any other county in the State of Colorado." explains Trudy Strewer-Hodges with CASA, a children's court advocate center in Colorado Springs
Last year there were over 12,600 reported cases of child abuse in the county. The experts at CASA tell us the county looks to be on pace to break last year's record. But the abuse isn't just physical violence. "The majority of our cases are severe neglect." explains Strewer-Hodges, "Children that are starving or not cared for."
CASA says there are a number of factors for the high numbers. But money and substance abuse rank highest. "The economy and the fact that there's more poverty add stressors to families. But also, domestic violence (along) with alcohol and drug abuse are (some) of the highest factors." says Strewer-Hodges.
As the old saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child. It's important to be there to help a parent who may be on the edge. "The best suggestion I can give is for parents to find friends and neighbors who can give them a respite." explains Strewer-Hodges, "The pressures of raising children are always challenging for every single one of us. Find someone who can give you a breather or some time off." Just the simple step of helping out a stressed parent, can save the ultimate heart break in the end.
For more information on CASA and the parenting services they provide please CLICK HERE
For Safe Passage, a Colorado Springs based child abuse victim's advocate please CLICK HERE