What to do if you suspect child neglect or abuse

Local News

To report a suspected case of child abuse or neglect, click here for a list of Alabama county DHR numbers or click here for more information. If a child is in immediate danger, call 911.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The Brookside Police Department has arrested a woman after authorities discovered her two children and five animals inside a home described as having “extreme life-threatening living conditions.”

The pictures inside the home, shown below, highlight the disgusting living conditions.

The woman has been charged with two counts of child endangerment and five counts of animal cruelty. Police said this case had nothing to do with drugs or poverty, that it is a case of pure neglect.

Police said one of the two children was taken to the hospital and is in stable condition.

The State Department of Human Services said there are signs to look for if you suspect a child is being neglected or abused.

“A child with an odor, a child who wears the same clothes, a child whose clothes don’t fit, a child who is embarrassed by the way they look or smell,” said Amanda Mancuso with DHR. “It’s our job to determine child abuse or neglect happens, so if you have a concern, call somebody. Kids can’t always speak for themselves.”

Under Alabama’s mandatory reporting law, any person who suspects child abuse or neglect is legally obligated to report it. If you are unsure if a case is considered neglect or abuse, DHR encourages you to call anyway and let them decide.

“If you see something, call,” said Mancuso. “Let us help guide you through and let us do our jobs and investigate…”

If a family needs help, there are resources available. Childcare Resources offers services to families that need help with quality care and education for children. Joan Wright, a representative of the non-profit said people need to report these instances in case a child is unable to advocate for themselves.

“Unhealthy, unsafe conditions,” said Wright. “It’s just a shame that they had to endure this for we don’t even know how long, living in a situation like that… You have a responsibility, if you see something, you say something.”

Depending on the class of a child abuse conviction, offenders face up to life in prison.

Cases of abuse and neglect have gone down from 2019 to 2020 in Alabama, according to DHR.

 Cases of Abuse/Neglect (CANs) Received by DHRPreventions Received*Total
FY 201928,47010,61539,085
FY 202026,3139,93536,248
Data from the Department of Human Resources

To report a suspected case of child abuse or neglect, click here for a list of Alabama county DHR numbers or click here for more information. If a child is in immediate danger, call 911.

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