A Minneapolis center serving abused and neglected children is expanding to meet a growing need for services fueled by the opiate epidemic and increased recognition of abuse.
CornerHouse will add space in Rogers, Minnesota Public Radio reported. CornerHouse is located in southern Minneapolis, but center officials say the needs of children extend beyond the city.
Rogers still needs to raise money to complete the move, said Rogers Police Chief Jeff Beahen. All communities have been affected by opioid abuse, he said.
"Even in a dormitory community, a fairly well-off community like Rogers, we are seeing that impact," said Beahen. "And it's very sad to go to these houses and see that the children are not being fed, they are not getting clean clothes to go to school."
The announcement of expansion occurs at the beginning of the national month of prevention of child abuse. . Officials encouraged residents to report the signs of abuse.
"Abuse occurs when there are secrets, when families do not talk about it or when they simply are not aware of the reality of abuse," said Patricia Harmon, executive director of CornerHouse.
Parents and caregivers should pay attention to children and talk to them if there are signs of abuse, he said.
"Ask questions about what happens at school and in other areas," said Harmon. "And encourage them to learn that their bodies belong to them."
Hennepin County saw reported cases of abuse increase by 30 percent between 2006 and 2017.
One case involves two twins with physical disabilities who were abused for years before one was able to escape and report what had happened The father of the girls is imprisoned on charges of rape, badault and harbadment, while the mother is accused of criminal negligence. Both are awaiting trial.
The Associated Press does not name parents to avoid identifying their daughters.