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      Numbers of abuse on the rise, but so are calls to CPS

      The annual Action 4 Child Abuse Prevention Call Center was busy Wednesday afternoon.

      Representatives from Child Protective Services were in the Action 4 newsroom fielding calls from viewers on all issues concering the welfare of children in the valley.

      "It's an uncomfortable issue to talk about and many people don't like talking about it."

      John Lennan is the media specialist for CPS and says a startling number of reports were made last year about potential child abuse in the valley.

      "51 calls a day, 2 calls per hour and even though that's a lot of calls, that's a lot of people taking the initiative to save a child."

      That's the purpose of the Action 4 special to get the community involved in reporting signs of child abuse which come in many different forms according to CPS Supervisor Angel de la Garza.

      "They may look malnourished or dirty, others have bruises and their behavior changes," said de la Garza.

      Whether the abuse be sexual, physical or neglectful, adults are responsible for reporting the violence before a child is severely hurt like the Weslaco toddler whose own mother burned his hand because she was angry with him. Luckily he survived, but some children do not.

      Lennan says the community should not fear Child Protective Services and if it makes them more comfortable, they can now file a report online.

      "Always call 9-1-1 in an emergency, but you can follow up with a report online at"

      Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-252-5400

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