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AZ Department of Child Safety sees decline in calls to Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline

Posted at 6:55 AM, Dec 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-07 08:55:59-05

TUCSON, Ariz. — TUCSON, Ariz. - The pandemic has had an impact on nearly every facet of life, and that includes the number of calls into the Arizona Department of Child Safety's Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline.

“It’s widely used by mandated reporters. We see that from law enforcement, we see that from educators but it can be any family member anybody from the community," said Mike Faust, the director for the Arizona Department of Child Safety.

Faust told KGUN9 the changes in the amount of calls made into the hotline first began the day students were sent home from schools when the pandemic first ramped up in Arizona.

“If we were to look at our reporting from that day there is a 90 plus percent drop in mandated reporting from educators," he said.

Faust added that while reporting is typically down over the summer months because school isn't in session, this year that trend continued into the fall semester.

“School goes back into session in August and we saw that reporting from educators just did not return," he said.

While many schools across the state are opting to return to remote learning, Faust said there is something educators can keep in mind to help students who might be experiencing abuse or neglect.

“How does abuse or neglect look virtually? Over a ZOOM call, it looks the same as if kids were in person in school, it’s just more difficult to see," he said, “if you have a child who’s been very engaged, they’ve been turning in their assignments and they have a very specific pattern of behavior and that pattern changes, they’re no longer turning in assignments, they’re not responding, you have a requirement to keep the cameras on and the child refuses to turn the camera on, they’re not responsive, not engaging. Those are usually indications that something has changed.”

If you need to report something to the Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline, you can call 1-888-SOS-CHILD.