ONSLOW COUNTY, N.C. (WNCT)–The city of Jacksonville is taking proactive steps to reduce the number of child abuse cases it sees each year.
Last year, there were more than 150 child abuse and neglect cases in the county. The Jacksonville City Council approved the idea of developing a task force with its community partners last Tuesday.
“While it is a social service agency issue it is also a community issue,” Dr. Richard Woodruff, city manager, said. “The city will be working with the county and other agencies to determine who should be part of this task force so they can put together a plan of action.”
The task force is aimed at helping parents find the resources they need to overcome stress and learn parenting skills. .
“Hopefully, the task force, once established, could then establish guides and goals and specific programs that they would try to implement in the next year,” Dr. Woodruff said.
The city hopes to develop a plan for the task force within the next 90 days.
There are currently 32 people waiting for trial on more than 100 charges including child abuse and exploitation of a child according to Onslow D.A. Ernie Lee. Factors contributing to the county’s rate of child abuse include marriage problems, unemployment and lack of education.