Child Abuse and Neglect a Health Priority in LaGrange County
Child abuse and neglect has been identified as the #3 health priority for LaGrange County based on the 2019 and 2022 Community Health Needs Assessments. The LaGrange County Child Abuse & Neglect Collaborative is a group of community partners that was formed in 2020 to work together to reduce the likelihood of a child abuse or neglect occurrence from taking place. Community partners involved in the collaborative include Bowen Center, Brightpoint, Children First Center, Elijah Haven, LaGrange County DCS, LaGrange County Health Department, Lakeland School Corporation, Parkview LaGrange Hospital, Prairie Heights School Corporation, SCAN, and Westview School Corporation.
When families lack a stable living situation or steady financial resources, it becomes significantly more difficult to support the healthy development of their children. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2022, 7.8% of the LaGrange County population had incomes at or below the Federal Poverty Guidelines. Nearly 25% of the population was without healthcare coverage and more than 2,000 children were on free and reduced lunch according to Stats Indiana.
Increasing financial security in households with children correlates with a decrease in neglect reports, physical abuse, and child welfare involvement. Brightpoint offers several programs and services that improve a family’s financial wellbeing including offering assistance with quality child care; providing financial foundations training; helping with finding, applying, and maintaining healthcare coverage; and increasing access to safe, affordable housing.
Over the course of the last year, Brightpoint’s Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) program provided $143,172 in high-quality, child care vouchers to families in LaGrange County. This made it possible for caregivers to go to work, school, or attend job training. Covering Kids and Families (CKF) of Brightpoint helps with healthcare coverage. The program completed 32 applications for public health insurance programs and provided 95 support services to LaGrange County residents last year.
“Organizations like Brightpoint that offer services to support caregivers and other adults, in addition to providing services that directly benefit children, improve the wellbeing of the family as a whole and help prevent child abuse and neglect,” says Vice President of Community Services Pam Brookshire. “It isn’t an issue that one organization can tackle alone; the resources that the LaGrange County Child Abuse & Neglect Collaborative provides is vital to each partner of the collaborative as we work to reduce and prevent child abuse and neglect.”
Those who are interested in learning more or getting involved can join the LaGrange County Child Abuse & Neglect Facebook group or attend monthly meetings. Members of the collaborative are also available to give 30-minute presentations to local businesses, churches, and community groups about how to identify and report child abuse, neglect, and human trafficking and how to connect families to resources. To schedule a presentation, please email Christina Blaskie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brightpoint is a private, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization serving nearly 40,000 people across northeast Indiana each year. Through a wide range of programs, Brightpoint helps communities, families, and individuals remove the causes and conditions of poverty. All Brightpoint services are provided without regard to race, age, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, disability, national origin, ancestry, or status as a veteran.