Pennsylvania Capital-Star: After pandemic drop, advocates fear spike in child abuse reports this fall | Tuesday Morning Coffee

After a pandemic-prompted drop-off, a child advocacy says it’s likely Pennsylvania will see a spike in child abuse reports this fall. That’s because children were isolated during the lockdown in 2020, which meant such mandatory reporters as teachers and physicians weren’t able to spot abuse and report it to authorities. But, as has been well-established, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t happening. Recent state data released by the Department of Human Services paints an alarming picture: “The number of reports received dropped about 22 percent between 2019 and 2020,” according to an analysis provided to the Capital-Star Now, with kids back in class, and pandemic restrictions lifted, those legally required to report abuse will be able to do so again. And one advocacy group is urging them to step forward. “Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic caused a situation where children were confined to their homes, and for some, that meant they were continually subjected to abuse and neglect,” Angela Liddle, the president and CEO of the Pa. Family Support Alliance, said in a statement. “When schools closed to protect children and their families from the coronavirus, we saw reports to ChildLine [the state’s abuse hotline] diminish,” she continued. “As we look toward the fall, child welfare professionals are preparing themselves for a dramatic increase in reports since children will once again be back in the presence of mandated reporters.”

From Pennsylvania Capital-Star, October 12, 2021

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