PENNSYLVANIA (WHTM) – The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services released its 2022 Child Protective Services Report.
Data shows that during the pandemic, there was a dramatic drop in reports of suspected child abuse cases across Pennsylvania.
But that was to be expected because many reports come from schools.
“The fact that, there was remote schooling, and many children were not in front of mandated reporters as frequently as they were before,” Executive Director for the Lancaster County Children & Youth agency Crystal Natan said.
But now, that’s turning around. Those reports are up by nearly 3% from 2021-2022.
“We really look to people that are in the child’s life, even if you’re not in a caretaking role, even if you’re not a mandated reporter, you know, if you see something it’s really important to report it,” Director of Operations for UPMC Child Advocacy Center of Central Pennsylvania Lynn Carson said.
In the Midstate, Lancaster and York counties show the highest reports of suspected child abuse.
“I think protecting children is probably one of the most essential responsibilities that we have as adults. Their vulnerable, they don’t have the critical thinking or the protective capacities to keep themselves safe,” said Natan.
Carson says its unrealistic to expect kids to tell someone what’s happening to them. Mainly because they won’t say anything until they feel safe.
“We have actually interviewed individuals who are 18, 19, 20 years old and their abuse happened when they were 10 but it wasn’t until they were 20 that they felt safe to tell,” said Carson.
Something to look for if you suspect a child is being abused is unexplained injuries or bruises that may appear to have a pattern, behavioral changes and kids that are not well groomed or wear the same clothing every day.
If you suspect child abuse call ‘ChildLine’ at 1-800-932-0313. Trained specialists are available 24/7.