TOLEDO, OH,  March 25, 2024: With more than 1,400 Lucas County children confirmed to have been victims of child abuse or neglect in Lucas County last year (2023), Lucas County Children Services (LCCS) is once again calling on the community at large to help raise awareness of this problem by holding events that shed light on its impact.

For the 13th consecutive year, LCCS, WTOL, KISS-FM, 101.5 The River, Focaccias, and Lamar Outdoor are sponsoring Wear Blue Day, April 10, 2024. The campaign calls on citizens who live, work, play, and attend school in Lucas County to post photos of themselves wearing blue to the LCCS Facebook page,, with the hashtag #OhioWearsBlue. The goal is to raise awareness that child abuse continues to impact youth in our community, and that everyone plays a role in keeping kids safe.

On April 18, at 11 a.m., LCCS will host its annual Child Memorial at the Conference and Learning Center, 711 Adams St. Adoptive parent Matthew Armstrong will be the keynote speaker. This year’s ceremony will remember 14 children lost since the last memorial (April 2023), and who ranged in age from a few weeks to 17 years old. Seven of the children to be honored were victims of abuse or neglect, and all but one was age two or younger. The remaining seven youth were teen victims of community gun violence; they ranged in age from 14 to 17 years.

“Fewer children entered LCCS custody in 2023, though the families we did see came to us with more serious and complex problems. On a more positive note, the number of children (12,056) and families (4,651) we served declined slightly from 2022. That equates to serving one of every eight children in Lucas County. We believe we can attribute the decline to the child abuse prevention work that LCCS and its collaborative partners have been doing in the community,” said Randy Muth, LCCS executive director.

One of those prevention programs is the Parent Empowerment Institute (PEI). Funded through local grants, the program reached into four zip codes with high incidences of child abuse and neglect. LCCS staff taught an 11-week, trauma-informed positive parenting curriculum at local community centers in their local neighborhoods. PEI participants learned positive discipline, listening skills, and other strategies.

The program served 325 parents, many of whom graduated but stayed involved in parenting peer support groups.

Other key statistics for 2023 include:

  • There were 1,433 substantiated victims of child abuse or neglect in Lucas County in 2023, a decrease of 10 percent from 2022.
  • The number of new children entering LCCS custody (573) declined by eight percent, but the average number of children in custody each month (922) increased by five percent. This is due to the increase in the number of children that entered custody in 2022 but remained in custody during 2023.
  • Parental substance abuse remained the most common reason that LCCS opened a case, and opiates were the most frequently abused substances.

About Lucas County Children Services

The mission of Lucas County Children Services is to lead the community in the protection of children at risk of abuse and neglect. This is accomplished by working with families, service providers and community members to assess risk and coordinate community-based services resulting in safe, stable, and permanent families for children.