KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Leslie Holmes has two passions: advocating for children and being a mom.
"We have nine children, six of whom were in the foster system and we brought into our home and adopted," she said.
Like many children, hers have their own story.
"Personally I know what my own children went through before they were taken out of the home: the trauma, the stress and the moving from home to home," Holmes said.
Today her children are happy and healthy. For that reason, Childhelp Executive Director Lawren Ramos said we have to be more vigilant about childhood adversity.
"It's always important to take a step back and look at what we are doing, what's working and maybe what's not," Ramos said.
A new state report from the Second Look Commission shows child abuse experts agree. The group notes investigators don't always get enough info on romantic partners and absent parents. Ramos adds even the slightest bit of info could be a game changer.
"It could be life or death if you don't report it," Ramos said.
Each year, the group looks into some of the most serious cases of child abuse across the state. It then compiles a list of recommendations for legislators.
Two recommendations keep showing up: the fact that people are disobeying no-contact orders and not enough adults are reporting abuse and neglect.
"At the end of the day, it's always adults' responsibility to take care of kids," Ramos said.
With more than 60,000 reported cases each year, Ramos believes we have to be more proactive.
"It's all of our jobs to take care of kids in our community," he said.
As a mom and a child advocate, that's exactly was Holmes is challenging other caring adults to do.
"Every child really deserves to be well cared for, to have a happy home and they deserve for someone to delight in them," she said.
You can access Childhelp child abuse, foster care resources and their hotline here.
The National Child Abuse Hotline is 1(800)4-A-Child or (1-800)422-4453.