County puts spotlight on child abuse and neglect

By Larry Tucker
Posted 4/1/21

Wood County commissioners approved a proclamation March 23 making April Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month in the County.

Child welfare board representative Sam Scroggins  said, …

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County puts spotlight on child abuse and neglect


Wood County commissioners approved a proclamation March 23 making April Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month in the County.

Child welfare board representative Sam Scroggins  said, “One of the things we have done in Wood County in past years is to hold a vigil. Last year we were not able to do that as conditions did not warrant it. The Wood County Child Welfare Protection Board, CASA of East Texas and the Northeast Texas Child Advocacy Center are coming together for a simulcast which includes the proclamation and the district attorney as keynote speaker. We will have children’s choirs from all over the count singing and we will be opening and closing with two of our noted pastors. It should be a good event, about 30 minutes in length.” The event will be April 12 at 6:30 p.m. on Facebook live.

Scroggins reported that in the past year there were 139 proven cases of child abuse in Wood County and 1,385 in the seven surrounding counties. There were over 500 cases reported, and of that total some have been dismissed while most others are still open.

“Looking back at the details of the 139, six of those were sexual assault with the vast majority of those were physical assault and there were many cases of abandonment,” Scroggins added. “It runs the gamut of things we call child abuse. We appreciate the county standing behind this and look forward to hearing the county judge read the proclamation.”

Commissioners heard from UT Health East Texas and their imprint on Wood County.

East Texas Health representative Scott Berkley said, “One of the things we stand for at UT Health East Texas is that we say we are advancing health care together. The key word is together, because we can’t do it alone. We can’t create a community health product alone; that’s why we say we are doing it together. Together involves our community leaders, our county commissioners and our city officials.”

Berkley reported that UT Health East Texas has over 10 hospitals, 50 plus clinics and over 300 providers in an extensive network covering the entire East Texas region. 

In Wood County there is a helicopter headquartered at UT Health Quitman. There is also the 911 dispatch center that can get help to the people who need it the most.

“We want to make a difference in our communities,” he said. “How can we affect community health and well-being of people before they call 911. What role can we play to make people healthier?”

Hayden Ray is the regional EMS director. He reported 804 cardio/pulmonary calls, 534 trauma, 46 diabetes, 70 stroke and 175 behavioral issues.

“In Wood County, for the year 2020, there were over 4,500 patient transfers from Wood County. Over 3,200 were actual 9-1-1 responses,” Hayden explained. 

A meeting was held Tuesday with a Wood County advisory committee and the UT Health system leaders to work on programs for Wood County.

In other business, commissioners approved two requests concerning Wood County canine deputy Major.

The first resolution involved the acceptance of Major and the second was to approve donations to be used for training, equipment and care.

Commissioners approved the sale of surplus property through Some of those items include a motor grader, four International dump trucks, three John Deere Tractors, a Waldon street sweeper, a 2001 Ford F350 and 2005 Ford F350 with dump bed, a boat and motor, a John Deere mower and a 1988 Chevy 6500 water truck. The auction will begin April 8 and end at 11 a.m. April 29. 

Personnel matters included the resignation of Nyla Gae Bergman from the district attorney’s office; the approval of Linda Williams to transfer from bailiff to deputy; a salary increase for Cynthia DuBois in the district attorney’s office; the resignation of Kale Holland from a dispatcher position; and the Precinct 1 hiring of Cory Littles as a road tech.

Commissioners approved a request for the Tall Tree Estates Subdivision in the Alba area and set hearings for revisions at Holly Lake Ranch and Lake Fork Country Club Estates for 9 a.m. May 4.