(WHTM) — Child abuse is one of the most horrific crimes. But how do we stop it?
April marks Child Abuse Prevention Month, and there was an alarming rise in child abuse cases from 2014 to 2019 that was met with a dramatic drop in 2020 when reported cases of child abuse declined by roughly 10,000.
Kids might have issues going on at home that are difficult for someone else to see. Lawmakers and child advocates say that’s partially due to the pandemic. More kids stuck at home meant less contact with the outside world.
“That was the real danger, in the fact that things may have been happening, but it made it much more difficult for mandated reporters and folks like that to identify and report it,” said Rep. Justin Fleming (D-Dauphin County).
According to Child Protective Services (CPS), mandated reporters – like teachers – make up nearly 80 percent of abuse reports.
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Now, with many kids back in the classroom, reported cases of abuse are up.
Representative Fleming of Dauphin County is a strong child advocate. He says Pennsylvania has the means to combat child abuse cases.
“We have a $1.1 billion dollar surplus this year in terms of revenue collections, so we have the resources to tackle these kinds of things and I hope we can do that,” Fleming added.
According to Fleming, one of the key things Pennsylvania can do is invest in careers that help combat child abuse.
“These jobs are often low-paid and as a result, they’re high stress, and as a result, people burn out. What happens is you have a churn and burn within the system where you’re not keeping folks who build up an expertise,” said Fleming. “Providing counties with more resources to do that is really critical and I’m looking forward to being a part of that.”