Since last year's memorial, 11 Lucas County children lost their lives to maltreatment, six of which were less than 1 year old.
Friday's service was the 14th annual children abuse memorial, to remember 11 local children who lost their lives to abuse or neglect in 2012.
Trees were bombed with blue yarn outside Lucas County Children Services for wear blue for awareness day April 10.
TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) -
Child abuse and neglect is on the rise in Lucas County, according to Lucas County Children Services. On Friday, a service was held in downtown Toledo to raise awareness about local child abuse and neglect.
The trees and lights outside of Lucas County Children Services are still wrapped in blue in honor of Child Abuse Awareness Month. Friday's service was the 14th annual children abuse memorial, to remember 11 local children who lost their lives to abuse or neglect last year.
A choir from the Toledo School for the Arts sang as candles burned in remembrance of lives lost too soon. Since last year's memorial, 11 Lucas County children lost their lives to maltreatment, six of which were less than 1 year old. The memorial is held as a stark reminder for the community.
"If we don't express the severe loss, the profound sense of loss that our community has, then we seem to lose our ability to feel. And if we can't feel about our children being killed, what else could we possibly feel about?" said Dean Sparks, director of Lucas County Children Services.
Sparks says in 2012, child neglect reports increased in Lucas County by 20 percent. He feels one answer is stricter gun control.
"But at least, we as a community and our leaders, can put out heads together and find a way to stop meaningless shootings that take our children," said Sparks.
John Anderson, the father who lost 2-month-old Caleb Henderson, has a message to anyone struggling with raising their children.
"There's other answers. Turn to family. Turn to friends. There are other answers than to hurt a child," said Anderson.
If you know of any child abuse or neglect that needs to be reported, you can anonymously call Lucas County Children Services at 419-213-2273.