ST. LOUIS–(KMOX)–Three children a day in the area are removed from their families because of allegations of child abuse or neglect — with some 700 kids already in state custody in the city alone.
That’s the word from Michael Fitzgerald, Director of Resource Development with Our Little Haven shelter, who spoke at a conference on child abuse held at Forest Park.
“By far the number-one reason that children come to the authorities is neglect,” Fitzgerald said, “Neglect is living in bad conditions, parents leaving children alone. That’s probably 75 percent of the cases.”
In the St. Louis region, Fitzgerald says most victims of child abuse and neglect are poor, but poverty isn’t the only determining factor.
“People who live in poverty tend to have a more difficult time and strike out more with their children,” Fitzgerald said, “But we have very wealthy families that hurt their children also.”
Fitzgerald says the root causes of child abuse and neglect here appear to be substance abuse and mental health problems.