Judge on child abuse: ‘We need to take it more seriously than we have in the past’

Crime

Child abuse…has become a growing concern among Kansans.

The county’s presiding juvenile court judge telling KSN Thursday that he’s seeing more child in need of care cases, and it’s time for the system and community to do their part.

Judge Patrick Walters says he’s just as frustrated as others after learning more about some of our notable child abuse cases. He says child in need of care filings are about five weeks ahead of what they were at this time last year, and this issue needs to be a priority.

“These are childrens’ lives that are at stake, and we need to take it more seriously than we have in the past,” said Presiding Judge Patrick Walters, Sedgwick County Juvenile Court.

That’s Judge Patrick Walters’ plea to members of our community on addressing child abuse. Walters says besides holding the system accountable, neighbors need to recognize root problems within many families.

“These individuals have gotten to the point whether they are not on their medication, or they are self-medicating, or they are taking in illegal substances, and not only can they not care for their child, but they can’t care for themselves,” said Walters.

He also expressed the need for more foster parents, especially in Sedgwick County.

Kevin Breshears is busy with a new restaurant, but he and his wife are passionate about foster care and have been foster parents. He says, there is always a need for more help.

“Just be there while whatever the situation is, gets figured out, the kids still need to be loved and cared for,” said Kevin Breshears, former foster parent.

Breshears also has experience, fostering abused youth.

“We had abused kids in our house, and it just it just breaks your heart,” said Breshears.

When we talked to Kansas Department of Children and Families Secretary Gina Meier-Hummel earlier this month, she said ‘investigation calls’ are continuous, and they have recognized problems to improve the system.

“We did pass the law, we want to be accountable to the people…we did pass the law to be able to share more information, because I think it’s important for people to know what we’ve known in certain situations, what we’ve done in certain situations,” said Gina Meier-Hummel, Kansas Department of Children and Families Secretary.

DCF encourages you to contact them or your local authorities if you suspect abuse. Their protection report number is 1-800-922-5330.

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