See something, say something when it comes to child abuse

Video of kids climbing into car trunk has officials asking residents to speak up

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A recent video circulating on social media shows at least three kids climbing into the trunk of a white car outside of a Cici's Pizza on Jacksonville's Northside.

"It's deeply disturbing when you see people being treated this way because there's obvious risk.  If you're placing children in the trunk of a car you're talking about possible suffocation, possible serious injury, especially if the car gets hit from behind," John Harrell, a spokesperson for the Department of Children and Families said.

The video was taken by a bystander and posted on Facebook Thursday, but DCF says they didn't find out about the video until days later, which is becoming a problem.

"It is interesting that they'll post on social media but not make the contact. I think that's part of society. If you look at something and think it's really wrong, you really have an obligation to tell somebody," E. Lee Kaywork, CEO of Family Support Services, said.

In fact, according to officials, it's the law to report any suspected child abuse.

"If we're not contacted abuse could get worse, the neglect could get worse, and this has happened," Harrell said.

DCF hasn't said much about the ongoing investigation into this case, but said that they are actively looking into the incident and everyone involved.

Directors at local family service centers have said that in some cases, the parents aren't aware that their actions are neglect, and the kids may not be taken away from the family. Instead, they'll receive parenting guidance and counseling.

"We'd work with the family to identify where that frame of mind is coming from and look at ways to promote better habits in the future," Prudence Williams, program director of the Exchange Club Family Center, said.

Officials are asking residents who may suspect any child abuse or witness anything suspicious to contact the abuse hotline at 1-800-96-ABUSE.