WDAY: The News Leader

Published April 16, 2012, 06:17 PM

Becker County dealing with alarming number of chld abuse cases

Becker County, MN (WDAY TV) - It's being called alarming, shocking, and disturbing. The drastic increase in the number of child abuse cases in Becker County Human Services is investigating more than 300 families right now for abuse.

The Becker County court system has seen a nearly 200 percent increase in the number of child abuse cases. That's not including the White Earth Indian Reservation. Those cases are dealt with by the tribe.

Michael Fritz - Becker County Attorney: “It's the most important thing we do in our office here."

County Attorney Michael Fritz says there is no easy solution.

Michael Fritz: "I don't know why a parent decides to become addicted to an illegal substance and have it compromise their ability to parent the child. I don't know the reason why they chose to do that, but if they do that in our county, they are going to face some tough consequences."

Investigator Kathy Nguyen is checking up on more abuse reports than usual. She calls the increase disturbing.

Katy Nguyen – Becker County Sheriff’s Office Investigator: "We've had a few where they are small, under the age of one, with skull fractures and bone fractures.

Becker County is searching for answers to explain this drastic jump. Some say it's the economy.

Kathy Nguyen: "Money is tight and tempers start to flare."

At Human Services, Director Nancy Nelson says this year's she's already

checking up on 645 children.

Nancy Nelson – Becker County Human Services Director: "We are pretty sure what we have going on will help. It's one of those things; we are not going to see results immediately."

Perhaps the most shocking: In 2002 Human Services had just under 2000 reports of abuse. By 2010, that number shot up to more than 3,600, a number the county works every day to bring down.

If you do think a child is being abused contact the Becker County Sheriff's Office.