Attorney General Aims to Lower Child Abuse Cases
Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel toured the Children’s Advocacy Center of Benton County (CAC) Saturday afternoon taking a close look at the names on the walls the children posted on stars.
“Every star on that wall, every child who has ever been through this place is important and we have to make sure that here and all over Arkansas we continue to serve,” McDaniel said.
McDaniel’s Little Rock office provides the center with funding and his visit highlights the record number of child abuse cases in Benton County.
Beverly Engle, the center’s executive director, said this visit served as an opportunity to show the impact the CAC has in the young victims’ lives.
“When we are able to show him the star on the wall where the child signed her name and said thank you, I think it’s helpful to them too when there is legislation involved or when there’s a decision to be made on what CAC’s do,” Engle said.
Engle said some contributing factors to the increase in child abuse cases are population growth and a spike in reported cases.
The monthly average this year is 65 cases compared to 56 in 2011, according Engle.
“We will definitely end up seeing close to around 800 children compared to 627 that we saw last year,” Engle said.
McDaniel stopped at each room in the CAC where social, medical and law enforcement services are provided under one roof.
“Northwest Arkansas is truly leading in this area,” McDaniel said.
“You have some of the most effective law enforcement, effective prosecutors and some of the most dedicated staff working at this child advocacy center,” McDaniel said.
Recently the CAC of Benton County, expanded to add a new counseling and play area to help avoid placing children on waiting lists.