With students across the state now learning from home, reports of child abuse and neglect have declined sharply.
Reports have dipped nearly 50% since schools closed back in mid-March. Officials with agencies such as job and family services indicate that the decline is not because there are fewer cases, but because teachers aren’t able to regularly interact with and observe their students.
As an answer to this issue, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services announced this week that it is teaming up with the Ohio Department Education to produce materials and resources designed for school districts and teachers. Officials explained that the materials will help them identify signs of abuse and neglect in their virtual interactions with students and families. These indications may include but are not limited to, strained responses to questions, the tone of an interaction, or being unable to contact a child or caregiver.
Additionally, the agencies are in regular communication with a variety of childrens’ services agencies across the state in reference to the decline in reports.
The ODJFS state child abuse and neglect hotline number is 855-O-H-CHILD (855-642-4453).