FLINT (WJRT) (4/12/2019) - "This is an epidemic throughout the nation and throughout the world, where children are being abused and neglected by people that are supposed to care for them," Genesee County Undersheriff Chris Swanson said.
He's not only worked on cases of child abuse, he's also a board member for the advocacy center Voices For Children in Flint.
"They need superheroes and that's why we do this. Because, we want people to step into the lives of those that can't defend themselves and be their defenders," he added.
Undersheriff Swanson was one of several speakers rallying community members in blue Friday, pushing them to spark change.
"80% of the perpetrators, they find their way alone with the victims in different places all over the community - bedrooms, bathrooms, basements, churches, schools, doctor's offices," he explained. "We know this. It's a community that knows this. How do we stop it before it starts?"
He and Voices For Children Executive Director Nyse Holloman agree - education and simply talking about child abuse are key.
"You have an obligation to yourself to step forward and take action and say I'm gonna learn what to look for," he said.
Holloman added, "You know when you get that feeling, when you feel like something is happening, just call."
Voices For Children is one of three Centers in Genesee County helping children work through and recover from the abuse. They work closely with the Ennis Center for Children and Whaley Children's Center.
Holloman said one BIG way you can help now, is opening your home to a child who can't return to theirs.
"You can be a foster parent. If you call the Department of Health and Human Services in Genesee County, they'll get you to be a foster parent within 64 days," Holloman explained.
For information on how to become a foster parent and for details on the upcoming Superhero race which benefits Voices for Children, click on the 'Related Links' section of this story.