TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The number of child abuse cases in Arizona continue to rise.
In fact, an 18-month-old girl died just last week, and now her mother and another man are charged with first degree murder.
Wednesday night, Casa de los Ninos hosted a community conversation with Pima County officials, researchers and social workers. The goal is to raise awareness of this serious issue and preventing future cases.
Organizers say Arizona has seen a 44% increase in child abuse reports since 2009, and right now more than 14,000 kids are in the system.
Organizers say the economic crash and state budget cuts are the main factors, especially because many of the support services were cut.
Casa de los Ninos CEO Susie Huhn said it's all about investing in the community at this point.
"Everybody in this community has a role to prevent child abuse and neglect, whether it's really eying someone that is in trouble or eying the stress of a neighbor by offering to help. Or if you really believe the child is in danger, you need to report that so that they can get the help they need," Huhn said.
Casa de los Ninos will host another meeting next month.
If you or someone you know is a victim of abuse or neglect, call the hotline at 1-888-SOS-CHILD.