Experts are noting a correlation with COVID-19 isolation and a drop in reported child abuse and neglect cases.
Tuscarawas County Job & Family Services officials are expressing concern when it comes to a drop in reported child abuse and neglect cases. Officials indicated that the state at home orders have resulted in less mandated reporters seeing the children in the community such as schools, doctor officers, daycare centers, etc. Below are the numbers provided by the local agency comparing reports from January-April of 2019 to reports January-April of 2020.
REPORTS IN 2020
January 2020: 154
February 2020: 151
March 2020: 145
April 2020: 115
REPORTS IN 2019
January 2019: 167
February 2019: 189
March 2019: 187
April 2019: 180
“The concern is the potential child abuse and neglect that is going unnoticed and unreported,” JFS officials told Newsymom. Officials indicated that there are many factors that are leading to an increased risk of child abuse and neglect. “The lack of employment and income results in heavy financial stress, causing bills to be late or unpaid. The lack of daycare centers can result in children being left alone or in the care of siblings (depending on the age of that sibling is whether or not it becomes troublesome) or inappropriate caregivers,” officials added.
Additionally, JFS has expressed concern in terms of an increased risk of drug and alcohol abuse with the effects on the mental health of individuals, being separated from loved ones, and restricted access to treatment resources. “Heightened stress also causes an increase in family violence,” officials added. “Our agency has recently seen many reports of drug abuse and violence.”
So, what can we do as a community? Officials encourage individuals to look out for friends, families, and neighbors; offer to help or check-in frequently with them.
The Tuscarawas County Job and Family Services office is also available to call Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. to make reports. Callers are asked to have as much information as possible regarding the family and if it is an emergency, please call the police.
For more information, visit Tusc JFS online.