Child abuse is a touchy subject and when it comes to taking action against it, officials say it’s a collaborative effort between different agencies and those who report suspected abuse.
"Our hotline is so important to what we do. If we don't know we can't do anything,” Jill Calvert, division director of child welfare for Mesa County, said.
If you suspect child abuse or neglect what should you do? Child protection says don't hesitate to call.
"People worry about what's going to happen or say I don't know if this is the right call,” Calvert said. “It just doesn't matter. If you are concerned call us and we'll take it from there."
Mesa County Department of Human Services follows strict criteria from the state, rules that say how and when officials can get involved.
"Its a good thing because people know when they call they will get a consistent work product. The decision point of when we get involved depends on the severity of the information we receive,” Calvert Explained. “If someone calls on the hotline and that information meets criteria for us to go out, then that's what we do.”
If the department does get involved, victims sometimes come to the Western Slope Center for Children to tell their stories of abuse.
Executive Director, Shari Zen, says, "I don't think child abuse will go away anytime soon, but those of us in this field make the choice because we want for children to have a voice."
Zen says it’s everyone's responsibility to watch out for kids in our community.
"You see a child that is being hurt by someone else, or is showing some signs that they have been hurt. I think it’s our responsibility to call the child protection hotline and get some help for that child," Zen said.
Child abuse advocates admit they often hear complaints. People sometimes say they didn't do enough and sometimes say they did too much. But for them the bottom line is this.
"Everyone in this field does this job because they believe that children deserve to be safe,” Calvert said.
If you need to make a report of suspected child abuse or neglect in Mesa County, please call the 24-hour Child Protection Hotline at (970) 242-1211. To mail a report, you can send the information to:
Child Protective Services
PO Box 20,000-5035
Grand Junction, CO 81502-5035