Intisar Faulkner, Ozarks News Journal

SPRINGFIELD – Child abuse is a growing problem in Missouri, and Greene County has become victim to an increase in cases.

Child abuse can happen to any child at any age and according to recent statistics, child abuse rates in Green county have outnumbered those of the state. Forty children out of every 1,000 are victims of child abuse in the state of Missouri. In Greene county, more than sixty out of every 1,000 are victims.

Barbara Brown-Johnson, executive director at the Springfield child advocacy center, says stereotypes relating to child abuse and poverty can be misleading.

“Lots of people want to think its just people that live in this certain area or that certain area and the truth is that you can have child abuse in any family. Upper income families, poor families, it is truly just easier to catch people who live in poverty” she says.

The center says last year they helped just over 1,300 children from 16 different counties making it the largest advocacy center in the state of Missouri.

But reasons for child abuse are not always linked to the children’s behavior.

Brown-Johnson says cases can be related to the parents childhood.

“Parents tend to parent the way that they were parented, so I’m sure they think if it was good enough for me its good enough for my child even if it wasn’t a positive way to parent.”

If you suspect child abuse, you can call the hotline at 1-800-392-3738.