Carson City, NV - April 24, 2020
About 75% of suspected child abuse and neglect reports in Nevada are made by mandated reporters. In March 2020, Nevada saw a 14% decrease in suspected child abuse and neglect reports which includes a 46% decrease in reports made by educational personnel.
On March 16, 2020, Nevada closed school buildings in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the week prior to school closures, Child Welfare Services received 256 reports from educational personnel. In the week following school closures, Child Welfare Services received 12 reports. Other first responders are receiving fewer calls as well, however, the calls they are receiving are more severe in nature.
As children are not in school or childcare, many of the mandated reporters who are likely to spot signs of abuse and neglect are not having contact with these children due to social distancing. During this time, children may be at greater risk of abuse and neglect as many families face additional stress over things such as work, health issues, and educating children at home.
“Unfortunately, this drop in reporting is not likely due to a drop in child abuse but rather fewer community members with eyes on vulnerable kids,” stated Ross Armstrong, Division of Child and Family Services Administrator. “Teachers are a critical ally in the battle against child abuse and neglect. Now it is up to responsible community members to watch out for the children in our communities.”
We want to thank our education professionals, medical professionals, law enforcement, and other mandated reporters for being key partners in making sure Nevada’s children are safe. During this time when mandated reporters have to stay home for their families, we ask all Nevadans to take the lead in watching for signs of abuse and neglect and reporting to their local child welfare agency if suspected abuse or neglect is occurring. If you see it, report it. You may be a child’s only hope.
Possible warning signs of abuse*:
Bruises, welts, or other injuries without plausible explanation
Injuries with a pattern that appears to be caused by something such as an object or hand
A child that is fearful of returning home
Watchful and alert as if waiting for abuse to occur
Possible warning signs of neglect*:
Poor hygiene or clothing that is consistently torn, damaged or inappropriate
A child that is unsupervised or left alone in unsafe situations
Lack of food
A child that appears thin or malnourished
A young child left unsupervised or alone
*This list is not definite of all signs of abuse or neglect.
Who to call to report suspected child abuse or neglect:
Clark County Department of Family Services: (702) 399-0081
Washoe County Human Services Agency: (775) 785-8600
(For all other counties in Nevada) Division of Child and Family Services: (833) 803-1183