Child Abuse Cases Go Up, Along With Need For Advocates
Child abuse in NWA keeps going up, said director of development & marketing for the Court Appointed Child Advocate (CASA) program Julie Lolley. According to the Arkansas Commission on Child Abuse, Rape and Domestic Violence, numbers rose from 3,670 cases of child abuse in Arkansas in 2011 to 4,528 in 2012 — that’s 19 percent more cases in just one year.
The causes, said Lolley, are not specifically defined by researchers, but many theories have arisen including social factors like the growing rate of poverty and increased awareness.
Turning Fayetteville Into A Food City
There’s a lot of talk about food security these days. With new research showing even the wealthiest communities like NWA contain high amounts of child food insecurity, and even more that show the lack of nutrient-rich foods across the nation, there’s good reason.
In Arkansas there’s even more of a reason to be concerned. According to a report by the Department of Acriculture, Arkansas tops the food insecurity rankings — second in the nation, with 20 percent of Arkansans not knowing where their next meal will come from.
Mayflower: The Sticky Truth
The first night of the oil spill on March 29, the small Arkansas town of Mayflower looked like the scene of a UFO crash, said Mayflower resident Kelly Paige. Exxon and the U.S. government had response crews on scene that night, complete with an army of private and public employees that was still there the day TFW came to town.
One Fayetteville resident driving through Conway the following day, March 30, said the strong smell crept onto the highway and made their eyes water and their head hurt. Meanwhile, right next to the spill, Paige, her brother and disabled father waited in their mobile home to hear what was going on.
“They haven’t said anything to us. We had city employees in our backyard trying to get pictures because they wouldn’t let the cops in the other way,” she said.
Cuts In Technology May Put Students At Disadvantage
At Concordia R-2 School District, and many others throughout the country, children’s access to the latest technology has become a necessity, while funding has turned into a luxury. Without the latest and greatest equipment, Superintendent Mary Beth Scherer and Technology Coordinator Karen Hemme are afraid students may not be able to stand out in a tough job market.
“They’re going to be competing with 15 or 20 people for that position so whatever we can provide them with here that will give them that edge, that’s what we want to do,” Scherer said.
Task Force Protects Internet From Child Predators
Steve Ryun said, luckily, he doesn’t deal with many cases like Derek Shain’s in Lafayette County.
But when a resident of Odessa contacted him with complaints about Shain attempting to have “sexual chats” with their disabled daughter on-line, he began to implement the investigative tactics he uses as a detective with the Western Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force.
School Budget Cuts Proving Tough
A quarter of the Concordia R-2 School District’s budget has already been cut in the past two years, and Superintendent Mary Beth Scherer explained how these cuts, along with future predicted shortfalls, are leading to major changes within the district.
The state spared foundation funds–the funds that can be spent anywhere there is a need–which Scherer said has allowed district administrators to maintain a level of comfort for students and parents. Scherer said the cuts have not been so easy on teachers, despite their efficient use of resources.