Northern Michigan Child Advocates Discuss Nationwide Drop in Child Welfare, Abuse Reports

The COVID-19 pandemic may have factored in to a drop in the number of reports nationwide about child abuse and neglect.

New data shows there were 400,000 fewer reports of child welfare concerns across the country in 2020 compared to 2019.

There were also 200,000 fewer reports of abuse and neglect.

That’s an overall 18% drop in reports and investigations.

Gina Aranki is the executive director of Child and Family Services in Traverse City.

“With regard to foster care, the numbers have declined in this year of COVID. The numbers of reporting in particular, the reporting of abuse and neglect and of course that’s a similar trend with domestic violence situations,” said Aranki.

Bethany Law is the executive director of the Northern Michigan Alliance for Children.

She says while the alliance didn’t see a major drop in calls or reports about abuse and neglect, much of the national trend could be tied to the lifestyle changes we’ve all experienced because of COVID-19.

“I think it’s somewhat attributed to the access with quarantine with people being restricted to their homes. They don’t have the outlets to report abuse like they normally would, they don’t have interaction with coaches and teachers and other mandated reporters and other people they feel safe talking to,” said Law.

And Aranki hopes the numbers do not dip again this year.

“It is a concern, it’s a concern for everyone who’s a helping profession like ours.  There are ways we can all help, by just paying close attention to our neighbors and our friends or make sure they know there are places they can reach out if they are struggling for all sorts of things,” said Aranki.

Local resources for help include:

Child Abuse Reporting Hotline (anonymous if you wish): 855-444-3911

Women’s Resource Center Crisis Hotline: 800-554-4972

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233

Child and Family Services (counseling, referrals): 231-946-8975

Pete’s Place (shelter for runaway and homeless youth): 231-922-4800

Goodwill Inn (adult/family shelter): 231-922-4890

Father Fred (food + utility assistance): 231-947-2055

Northwest Michigan Community Action Agency (employment, budgeting, food, housing, + other services): 231-947-3780

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Categories: Coronavirus