Wesley House raises awareness for child abuse prevention

MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - Cell phone video capturing a woman in Tennessee letting a child out of a dog kennel has leaders in East Mississippi advocating for a new push in child abuse awareness.

The Tennessee grandmother was arrested and charged with child endangerment after video shows her transporting her grandchildren in a pet kennel. This incident has leaders at the Wesley House Community Center advocating for new ways to put an end to child abuse.

"The Child Advocacy Center here at the Wesley House for the spring, we noticed that we were up 50 percent over the last year in the number of forensic interviews we have been doing," said Wesley House executive director David Schultz.

The executive director says the issue can be tackled head on by educating the public. He says the key is for people to understand the warning signs and call the proper authorities.

"The key is for all of these groups that you mentioned, for us, for Care Lodge, for law enforcement, for CPS, for all of us as a community to work together," said Schultz.

Agencies such as the Wesley House and Care Lodge can provide support for any child you think is in an unsafe environment. All it takes is one phone call.

"We will all come together to make the best determination for the child as to whether the child is just going through a change in their life or in fact there's some type of psychological or physical abuse taking place," said Lauderdale County Sheriff Billy Sollie.

And law enforcement is encouraging the public to call without hesitation.

"When you're dealing with a child and the potential harm to a child, you need to take away your doubts of becoming involved. You need to say this is for a child and get involved," said Sheriff Sollie.

The Wesley House will help take part in a child abuse prevention program called Chaplains for Children next month. The dates for the program is July 19th and 20th and is free for anyone to attend.

You may sign up by visiting www.childadvocacyms.org.