NewsHillsborough County


Fishing tournament looks to reel in money for Children's Home Network

Organizers hope to raise up to $150,000
Reel Animals Classic Fishing Tournament
Posted at 5:37 PM, Apr 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-02 05:10:14-04

TAMPA, Fla — Hillsborough County is ranked the highest in Florida for the most reported and confirmed cases of child abuse and neglect, according to Champions for Children.

“Hopefully we can get to a place in our world where we don’t have to do these things, there isn’t any abuse of kids and women, but unfortunately that’s the way it is," Michael Anderson said.

Michael Anderson is trying to reel in support as he hosts a fishing tournament to raise money for the Children’s Home Network.

“When you see the moms out there with little babies, you see the young kids, you hear some of the stories of the tragedies that they’ve gone through, the opportunity to come together for that, to do what we get to do here in the beautiful place like Tampa Florida and raise money for these kids it’s a no-brainer. I couldn’t wait to get involved," Anderson added.

Each day in Hillsborough County, four children are removed from their homes due to child abuse and neglect and one of those will be an infant, according to Champions for Children.

“Here for the Tampa Bay community we had a high number of children in foster care, oh, in the early 2000s, Irene Rickus, President and CEO of Children’s Home Network, said.

She told ABC Action News that prevention and intervention services have kept that number down, until now.

“We have been seeing the numbers creep back up," Rickus said.

Serving thousands of bay area children in need, Rickus said when parents are strained, abuse and neglect are likely to increase.

“We know that poverty is a driver for perhaps unintentional neglect, but it clearly is a factor. And so as people have struggled financially now, not only because of the pandemic but because of what's happening in our economy, with you know, the increase in inflation and you know, the price of gas, is putting more strain on families. We anticipate that strain could lead to an increase in abuse and neglect," Rickus added.

Anderson said hopes fundraising will help in the fight to protect bay area families and the Children’s Home Network.

“We're hoping to raise a pile of money. Hopefully, we’ll raise between $120,000 to $150,000 and help that place out," Anderson added.