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Reports of child abuse dropped in Arizona during COVID-19 pandemic

(Pixabay photo)

PHOENIX – New numbers show reports of child abuse decreased in Arizona during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Arizona Department of Child Safety reported a 30% drop in their calls for service following the halt on in-classroom learning last year.

However, just because reports of child abuse dropped does not mean the abuse stopped.

“That’s because teachers and educators make up a large portion of the reporter community,” Mike Faust, director of the Arizona Department of Child Safety, told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

The number of calls reporting child abuse remained low throughout last summer as COVID-19 continued to spread in the community.

When summer started to end, Arizona Department of Child Safety noticed a new trend in reports of child abuse.

“We started to see an alarming trend of an increase in calls coming from law enforcement,” Faust said.

Child abuse reports from police to the Arizona Department of Child Safety remain constant as of April.

Law enforcement reporting is up about 25-30% compared to what is believed to be normal for police.

But with many schools going back to in-person learning, Faust believes teachers reporting child abuse is on the rise but not at pre-pandemic reporting levels.

Reports of child abuse in Arizona remain about 10% less than usual, and the Arizona Department of Child Safety believes educators are reporting about two-thirds of what they were before the pandemic.

The remaining calls are now believed to be picked up by police.

Faust is proud of his child protection agency for working in the face of many unknowns brought on by the pandemic to accomplish their goal.

“We can proudly say that our workers and frontline DCS specialists went out on every call of abuse and neglect that we received throughout the entire pandemic, despite the uncertainty,” Faust said.

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