Is Child Abuse Really Going Down During The Pandemic? Or Are The Numbers Skewed?

September 16, 2020 Abuse and Neglect Attorney

One of the things we’ve read a lot about in the news since the early days of the Covid19 pandemic, is the sharp decrease CPS has seen in the number of child abuse reports made to the agency and other hotlines. But is that a real reflection of the facts? Has there really been a decline in the number of children who are being abused and neglected here in Michigan? Or is it just that the people who usually make those calls – teachers, daycare workers and clergy, aren’t seeing children anymore and therefore have nothing to report.

A little girl looking out of her window at illustrations of the corona virus floating around outside. In the corner it says "stay home"

Experts say the pandemic numbers aren’t accurate at all

According to CNN, Michigan is only one of several states around the nation that has seen a double digit drop in the number of calls made to CPS to report possible abuse. Connecticut, California, Kentucky, New Hampshire and Louisiana have all also seen major drops in their numbers. Paula Wolfteich, the intervention and clinical director of the National Children’s Advocacy Center spoke with CNN and explained that her organization is very concerned about the number of children they believe are being abused at home, but agencies can’t reach out and help because they don’t know where it’s happening.

The pandemic may have actually made things worse in some cases.

One of the concerns that child advocacy experts around the country have expressed, is the fact that Covid19 may actually have made the situation worse. Many Americans have lost their jobs, or have seen a reduction in their income, which creates a very stressful situation at home. This can lead to substance abuse problems, domestic violence, and child abuse. Anna Gassman-Pines, a Duke University professor who researches the effects of unemployment on children, also spoke to CNN and explained why “very stressed communities where there have been a lot of job losses” are at an increased risk for child abuse because everyone in that community is struggling with uncertainty around their jobs, feelings of instability, and worry about the future.”

What is Michigan CPS doing to address these possible issues?

As we shared with our readers on our CPS blog a little while ago, Michigan CPS is trying to pivot in how they address their interactions with at-risk families. The agency has a history of being reactive, in that they have traditionally waited to hear a report about potential abuse or neglect, and then stepped in to respond to that. Now however, since the number of reports has decreased dramatically since quarantine and social distancing became the standard, the agency is having to pivot away from a reactive stance and focus more on changing to a proactive approach.

It’s a tough time for everyone right now. We can help protect you and your family.

Throughout the world people are struggling more than ever. Rising disease and death rates, government-enforced isolation, and reduced community support are all taking their toll. Stress, grief and loss are real concerns for many families. Here at The Kronzek Firm, we understand that parents are being stretched to their limits (and sometimes beyond!). But you don’t have to defend your children and your parental rights alone when things get out of hand. If you or a loved one have been accused of abuse or neglect contact us immediately at 866 766 5245. Our experienced child abuse and neglect defense attorneys have been successfully defending parents for decades. We can help you too!