Vigilance Urged against Child Abuse

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Byline: Harry Hitzeman Legal Affairs Writer hhitzeman@dailyherald.com -CLMN-

Last week, an Elburn man was for severely beating his then-girlfriend's 23-month-old daughter in a St. Charles hotel room in fall 2010.

The abuse case of Molly Koch, who is in the care of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and likely has permanent brain damage, is half over as her mother also is charged with not protecting the girl from James Cooper, 29.

As begins, Kane County State's Attorney Joe McMahon and other child welfare officials are if they suspect abuse or neglect.

Lori Chassee, director of the , which investigates crimes against children, said people need to get over the fear that a call to DCFS or the at (800) 252-2873 will result in a child forcefully being taken out of his or her home.

"Every call does not result in punitive action. It's a request for somebody to look into the situation," Chassee said. "Sometimes fear of DCFS is a fictional weapon that is used to buy silence. Abuse prevention is a community and adult responsibility."

According to data, an average of 3,768 children in Kane County per year over the last five fiscal years were the subject of an abuse and neglect report. The agency conducted an average of 1,012 investigations per year in Kane County during that time, with a high of 1,170 in the 2009 fiscal year and low of 738 in the 2006 fiscal year. …