The statistics regarding suspected child abuse in Tioga County are alarming, according to Christa Hilfiger, case work manager for the Tioga County Department of Human Services.
“We received over 1,200 reports of suspected child abuse in 2017-18, most reported by someone in the role of a care giver but mostly teachers,” Hilfiger told the Southern Tioga School District board of directors at the Oct. 7 work session.
“Once we work our way in, we have to be able to support the allegations or not. Out of 300 reports, we could only substantiate 98 of them, affecting 204 kids living in the homes,” Hilfiger said.
According to Hilfiger, Elkland has “a huge drug problem.”
“We get a lot of reports from Elkland, but that doesn’t mean there is not a huge drug problem here. We also get a lot of reports from Blossburg, Morris Run and Mansfield,” she added.
During 2017-18, Hilfiger said there were six families from Mansfield, three from Mainesburg, four from Blossburg and Covington and four from Morris Run.
The main drug of choice is meth, which has been on the rise over last year, Hilfiger said. “We try to drug test all clients, and found 41 confirmed cases of meth use, 20 confirmed cases of poly drug use, which could include heroin, cocaine, meth, marijuana and benzos, along with a small number of cocaine, suboxone,” she said.
Seven families from Blossburg were open to services, 10 from Mansfield and six from the Liberty area.
“We also worked with one family from New Covenant Academy in Mansfield, 15 from R.B. Walter and Williamson High School,” she said.
“In Northern Tioga, there were 11 from Westfield, 10 in the last year, and 53 kids placed in outside homes in the last year, 31 of them due to drug concerns,” Hilfiger said.