Advocates for children are concerned that child abuse and neglect are increasing as COVID-19 forces people to stay home, resulting in isolation, stress, economic hardship, and inadequate child supervision.
“As families face unprecedented challenges with no end date in sight, community support is critical to keep families safe, strong and stable during COVID-19,” Children’s Home Society of Florida Public Relations and Social Media Manager Andrea McNally told Hometown News.
“The urgency and demand to create safer, more stable homes has never been greater,” Ms. McNally said. “And the call for our community to be on high alert for kids in potential dangerous situations is just as great. CHS is urging the entire community to stay vigilant for signs of abuse and neglect. Say something if you see something. We are all responsible for ensuring the safety of our communities’ children.”
In a March 22 Newsweek article, “Texas Hospital Child Abuse Cases Rise in COVID-19 Outbreak,” doctors at a children’s hospital in Fort Worth, Texas said they were seeing a spike in child abuse cases connected to COVID-19. The doctors suggested that the stress caused by the coronavirus outbreak was causing tension in families that would be taken out on the children.
Dr. Susan Pearlstein, a co-supervisor at the Family Law Unit of Philadelphia Legal Assistance, told Newsweek that anxieties around the coronavirus outbreak including illness, job loss, and financial stress could “lead to physical abuse, not to mention the emotional, verbal and mental abuse going on that we don’t see signs for.”
“Isolation is such a huge part of the control and abuse that happens in these types of relationships,” she said. “There would be more of that type of behavior, saying, ‘no, you can’t go out. No, you can’t talk to your friends…’ When is the survivor even going to have a minute to reach out to services?”
Children’s Home Society of Florida has a Treasure Coast office in Vero Beach that serves Martin County, St. Lucie County, Okeechobee County, and Indian River County.
“The current COVID-19 crisis escalates the importance of these critical services and resources, as family stressors continue to heighten,” said Ms. McNally. “To help kids, teens, and parents navigate these tough times, CHS counselors have leapt into action to meet families virtually with HIPPA-compliant applications, understanding the need is greater now than perhaps ever before.”
“While most of us have been tasked to do our part and stay home, CHS dependency case managers throughout the Treasure Coast are still showing up for vulnerable kids and families.”
The Treasure Coast office of Children’s Home Society of Florida is located at 650 10th St., Vero Beach. Call CHS at (772) 344-4020, or email Executive Director Sabrina Sampson, Sabrina.Sampson@chsfl.org.
If you or someone that you know is affected by domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline for support at (800) 799-7233.
Originally posted by: Hometown News Treasure Coast