HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The 2021 Annual Child Protective Services (CPS) Report was released Tuesday, according to The Department of Human Services (DHS). Along with the release of the report, which includes statewide and county-level data relevant to the child welfare system, the DHS is encouraging all Pennsylvanians to report potential child abuse or neglect.

According to the DHS, the CPS reports rose by roughly 15% between the years 2020 and 2021. This increase was anticipated, largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the reduced contact between children and mandated reporters during the pandemic.

Reports of suspected child abuse by mandated reporters increased as well in 2021, which was also anticipated due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was also reported that in 2021 a total of 8,313 school employees made CPS reports, compared to 2020 where 5,780 school employees made reports.

There was a decrease in child fatalities between 2020 and 2021, however, there was an increase in child near fatalities substantiated as the result of child abuse. In 2020, 73 children died and 115 children nearly died as a result of child abuse. In 2021, 57 children died and 136 children nearly died as a result of child abuse.

“It is all of our responsibility to stop child abuse and neglect, and taking proactive, deliberate action now can prevent tragedies in the future,” said Acting DHS Secretary Meg Snead. “One child’s death is too many. I urge anyone who has concerns for the safety of the children in their life to contact ChildLine immediately.” 

DHS encourages all Pennsylvanians to report potential abuse or neglect if they observe the following signs:

  • Numerous and/or unexplained injuries of bruises
  • Chronic, pronounced anxiety and expressed feelings of inadequacy
  • Flinching or avoiding being touched
  • Poor impulse control
  • Demonstrating abusive behavior or talk
  • Cruelty to animals or others
  • Fear of parent or caregiver, among others

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Child abuse or neglect can be reported to ChildLine, a 24/7 hotline that is available to anyone by calling 1-800-932-0313.