Child abuse cases reported in Arizona could spike as schools reopen

Aug 12, 2020, 5:51 AM | Updated: 6:00 am
(AP Photo)...
(AP Photo)
(AP Photo)

PHOENIX – The Arizona Department of Child Safety usually sees an increase in child abuse cases reported as students head back to school, and it’s possible that increase could be even higher this time than previous years.

“We typically see about a 20% increase in August over other months,” Director Mike Faust told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

“We’re concerned that spike will be larger predominantly because children and youth that are vulnerable to abuse and neglect have not been in the public eye for five months now.”

The coronavirus pandemic has kept many people home and kids out of sight.

Schools closed mid-March and most summer programs and camps were canceled, leaving adults who might recognize the signs of abuse unable to do so.

That has led to a decline in calls to the Arizona Child Abuse Hotline run by DCS.

“Since the middle of March, we’ve seen a reduction of the number of reports that are coming in to our hotline,” Faust said.

“Approximately a 25% to 30% reduction has been seen, and that’s been consistent throughout the pandemic.”

He added since the pandemic started, the department has taken in fewer reports per month for field investigation.

The biggest drop occurred in April when DCS took in 3,015 reports, compared to 4,428 reports last April.

There was also a significant drop in May, with 3,224 reports versus 4,109 reports last May.

Teachers who are required by state law to report suspected child abuse and neglect are usually among the adults who report the most cases.

But as many schools across Arizona resume classes entirely online, Faust said he’s concerned it will be challenging for teachers “to spot abuse and neglect when their only interaction with children and youth is through virtual tools.”

Still, he said there are signs they can look for, including physical injuries such as bruises and burns as well as sudden changes in a child’s behavior.

And it’s not just teachers who should be looking for potential signs of child abuse and neglect.

Faust said all Arizonans “have a role to play in this and do our part to protect Arizona’s vulnerable children.”

Suspected child abuse or neglect can be reported by calling the toll-free child abuse hotline at 1-888-SOS-CHILD or 1-888-767-2445.

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Pexels Photo)...
Associated Press

Suspect arrested after fatal fast-food drive-thru shooting in Phoenix

Phoenix police have arrested a suspect a shooting at a drive-thru that left a fast-food worker dead and a second one wounded.
1 day ago
Arizona GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake speaks to the media after voting on November 08, 2022...

Defeated Republican Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake files election lawsuit

Kari Lake filed a lawsuit Friday claiming the number of illegal votes cast in Arizona's general election outnumber her margin of defeat.
1 day ago
(Getty Images)...

Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema relieved by Brittney Griner’s release from Russian prison

Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema said she is not in a place to criticize the Brittney Griner-Viktor Bout exchange and is happy Griner is home.
1 day ago
(Twitter Photo/Abraham Hamadeh)...

Republican Arizona AG candidate Abe Hamadeh files another election lawsuit

Republican Arizona Attorney General candidate Abe Hamadeh filed another election lawsuit Friday, asking for another look on his race.
1 day ago
(AP Photo/Matt York)...
SuElen Rivera

Maricopa County recorder proposing ways to speed up vote count

Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer said he planning to propose changes to Arizona election laws that would speed up the vote count.
1 day ago
A cold and flu medicine shelf is empty in a CVS pharmacy on Dec. 6, 2022, in Burbank, California. (...
Associated Press

Maricopa County health officials warn about spread of flu, COVID, RSV

Arizona's most populous county is warning of a significantly rise in cases of the flu, COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Here are 4 signs the HVAC unit needs to be replaced

Pool renovations and kitchen upgrades may seem enticing, but at the forefront of these investments arguably should be what residents use the most. In a state where summertime is sweltering, access to a functioning HVAC unit can be critical.
Child abuse cases reported in Arizona could spike as schools reopen