(Image via Pa. Partnerships for Children)
Good Tuesday Morning, Fellow Seekers.
After a pandemic-prompted drop-off, a child advocacy says it’s likely Pennsylvania will see a spike in child abuse reports this fall.
That’s because children were isolated during lockdown in 2020, which meant such mandatory reporters as teachers and physicians weren’t able to spot abuse and report it to authorities.
But, as has been well-established, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t happening. Recent state data released by the Department of Human Services paints an alarming picture:
- “The number of reports received dropped about 22 percent between 2019 and 2020,” according to an analysis provided to the Capital-Star
- “The number of substantiated cases fell slightly, but there were 4,593 substantiated cases in 2020
- “There were 93 near fatalities in 2019, and in 2020, 115 children nearly died from child abuse
- “The state lost 73 children to child abuse in 2020, which is up from 51 in 2019,” the analysis showed.
Now, with kids back in class, and pandemic restrictions lifted, those legally required to report abuse will be able to do so again. And one advocacy group is urging them to step forward.
“Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic caused a situation where children were confined to their homes, and for some, that meant they were continually subjected to abuse and neglect,” Angela Liddle, the president and CEO of the Pa. Family Support Alliance, said in a statement.
“When schools closed to protect children and their families from the coronavirus, we saw reports to ChildLine [the state’s abuse hotline] diminish,” she continued. “As we look toward the fall, child welfare professionals are preparing themselves for a dramatic increase in reports since children will once again be back in the presence of mandated reporters.”
Sadly, Pennsylvania’s experience during lockdown last year was no different from that of other states, the advocacy group noted. While reported cases went down, some hospitals said the cases of abuse they saw were more severe, the Washington Post reported in April 2020.
In July, CNN reported that it was still too soon to know the full impact of the pandemic on child welfare. But as classes resume in full, the picture should become clearer.
“As things open up, everybody’s kind of watching at the same time,” Melissa Jonson-Reid, a social work research professor at Washington University in St. Louis, told the cable news network.
As that happens, Liddle’s organization is urging mandated reporters and members of the public to “pay close attention to the children in their lives and keep a watchful eye on them as they transition back into school.”
“As the adage says, if you see something, say something,” Liddle said. “Children depend on adults for their safety and survival, and we are imploring everyone to take action if you suspect that abuse or neglect is happening.”
If you have witnessed child abuse, or believe it is happening, you can make an anonymous report to ChildLine at 1-800-932-0313.
While mandatory reporters receive training in spotting suspected abuse, the same is not true of the general public. But this online guide, put together by Liddle’s group, explains the warning sings of physical, sexual, and psychological abuse.
In news that will shock, well, pretty much no one: Attorney General Josh Shapiro will seek the Democratic nomination for governor in 2022. He’ll make it official with an announcement in Pittsburgh on Wednesday. Progressives have made low-key efforts to drum up challengers, but have so far come up empty, leaving the field to Shapiro. That’s unprecedented for an open-seat election. Stephen Caruso has our full story.
National and state Democrats have filed the legal paperwork seeking to intervene in the high-profile lawsuit challenging Pennsylvania’s vote-by-mail law, Marley Parish reports.
On our Commentary Page this morning, writing in the pages of our sibling site, Source: New Mexico, a queer activist says coming out isn’t done for others, it’s done so that LGBTQ+ individuals can ‘step into our authenticity.’ Columnist Michael Coard, of our partners at the Philadelphia Tribune writes that, 150 years after his death, the resurrection of famed Philly Black activist Octavius Catto is continuing. And from our sibling site, the Minnesota Reformer, new mom Jasmine Winter recounts her harrowing ordeal with her insurance company before her baby was born.
In a building filled with attorneys, state lawmakers frequently spend millions of dollars on pricey, private lawyers, but don’t explain why, Spotlight PA reports (via the Inquirer).
Pittsburgh mayoral hopefuls Ed Gainey, the Democrat, and Tony Moreno, the Republican, faced off at a debate on Monday. The Post-Gazette has the details.
PennLive runs down the list of popular restaurant closings around the region in 2021.
Cereal company Kellogg is busing temporary workers to its plant in Lancaster to replace striking employees who walked off the job, LancasterOnline reports.
The York Dispatch’s editorial board wants reader questions for the city’s mayoral candidates.
COVID-19 booster shots are ‘outpacing’ first and second vaccinations in the Lehigh Valley, the Morning Call reports.
This year’s Halloween celebrations could be haunted by shortages, the Citizens’ Voice reports (paywall).
WHYY-FM has what you need to know about Philadelphia’s first officially recognized Indigenous Peoples’ Day celebration.
Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, R-Centre, says he accepts President Joe Biden’s win, but says a GOP-spearheaded election probe must continue, WITF-FM reports.
U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb, D-17th District, has raised $1.2 million toward his U.S. Senate bid during the third quarter, City & State Pa. reports.
Roll Call updates on the latest on the slow progress on the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill.
Here’s your #Philadelphia Instagram of the Day:
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What Goes On
11 a.m., Downingtown, Pa.: House Democratic Policy Committee
1 p.m., Connellsville, Pa.: Senate Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness Committee
4 p.m., Wellsboro, Pa.: House State Government Committee
6 p.m., Capitol Park: Rally for undocumented people
What Goes On (Nakedly Political Edition)
8 a.m.: Golf outing for Sen. Devlin Baker. Admission runs from a mere $250 to an utterly preposterous $10,000 for a ‘Hole in One‘ sponsorship.
Gov. Tom Wolf holds events in York County (10 a.m.) and Erie (12:45 p.m.) to respectively tout the expansion of the biotech industry and child care funding.
Former Wham! and George Michael bassist Deon Estus died Monday at the entirely too young age of 65, according to his social media feed and published reports. He hit the Top 5 in 1989 with this tune, co-written with Michael: Here’s the lovely ‘Heaven Help Me.’
Tuesday’s Gratuitous Hockey Link
The expansion Seattle Kraken play the first regular season game of the expansion franchise’s history tonight, facing another one-time expansion club with an already storied history: The Las Vegas Golden Knights. Here’s what to watch for tonight — via NHL.com.
And now you’re up to date.
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