A Drop in Child Abuse Reporting During COVID-19 is Deceitful
Many counties and states are saying there is a drop in child abuse reporting since the COVID-19 outbreak. We want to stress that this drop is very misleading and troublesome. The LAist reported that since mid-March, L.A. County has seen a 40-60% decrease in the number of suspected child abuse reports from the public.
Bobby Cagle, director of the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) is quoted saying, “I’ve been doing this for in excess of 31 years and this is the first time we have seen a phenomenon like this where reports drop so significantly.”
Why Reduced Reporting of Child Abuse is Alarming
There are many different factors that are contributing to the reduction in reporting. One can point towards the mandated reporters being at home (teachers, government workers) as part of the drop. Because they are no longer out seeing children visibly on the day to day. Many situations that would be reported on go unseen.
We can also look at a decrease in in-person visits to the doctors. People are limiting their physical trips out in public, including visits to the doctors. Many doctor’s offices are starting to practice telemedicine. So again, children are being seen less by people who by law have to report.
But What About Reports from the General Public?
With everyone being shut in, it is difficult to see neglect. Just because no one is seeing children being neglected or abused does not mean it has stopped. The reality is, we do not know how many children are facing abuse and neglect right now. We may not know, even after we integrate back into society. But what we can say is that we should always say something if we see something. Make the call for a wellness check. It is better that someone was concerned and wrong than having a child continue to struggle in an unsafe living environment.
In conclusion, not all children are safer at home. Be mindful of why or what there is a drop in child abuse reporting since the COVID-19 outbreak. Children and foster families need more support than ever managing through this. Please consider being apart of the solution and helping here.
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