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Child Abuse, Illiteracy Rates High In Crawford County

Submitted Wed, 04/16/2014 - 7:03am by Andy Alm

MEADVILLE – According to new research, Crawford County is one of 14 counties in Pennsylvania where children are at high risk for not learning to read by the third grade.

“We’re seeing a number of abuse cases continually rise in this county.  We averaged 24 cases a month for the last two years, and now we’re averaging 32 cases a month of child abuse cases getting called into us.  We have a lot of children who are at risk and we need the appropriate workforce to go out and investigate these cases on their merit.”

Crawford County Human Services Director Mark Weindorf is asking the commissioners to approve an additional intake worker position in the Child Welfare department to add to the current compliment of eight.

Research from the Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning says in 2011 and 2012 25% of 3rd grade students were reading at below proficient levels on the PSSA tests.  Twenty-six percent of mothers of children between birth and 5 years old have not completed high school.  And almost 36 percent of children in Crawford County were participating in some sort of publicly-funded quality early education program, such as the Nurse-Family Partnership, Head Start, Pre-K Counts, Early Intervention, or Keystone STARS.

Weindorf says roughly half of children at Crawford Central School District are getting a free lunch.