By Pat Loeb
MEDIA, Pa. (CBS) — A recent viral video of a young child with her seemingly drug-addled mother on a Philadelphia bus (see related story) raised awareness of the public’s role in preventing child abuse and neglect.
Now, suburban authorities are reminding residents that the problem is not confined to the city.
Delaware County officials are launching a public awareness campaign. County Council chairman Tom McGarrigle says child welfare officials there investigated more than 2,000 cases of abuse in 2012.
“The headlines of these stories are horrific,” he tells KYW Newsradio, “with reports of young children living in filth, malnourished, and, in one case, fighting with the family dog for her food.”
About one-tenth of the cases are serious enough to end up in criminal court, according to Delaware County district attorney Jack Whelan. “And they’re horrendous cases. To me they’re the most difficult cases we prosecute.”
Whelan and McGarrigle have teamed up to spread the word — through public service announcements and training videos — that all adults should learn the warning signs of abuse and be ready to report them.
“It’s everyone’s responsiblity to stand up for our children,” McGarrigle said today.
The state child abuse hotline is 800-932-0313.