Child abuse reports have risen 15% between 2020 and 2021.
PENNSYLVANIA STATE | On Sept. 6, 2022, The Department of Human Services (DHS) announced the release of the 2021 Annual Child Protective Services Report. Child Protective Services (CPS) abuse reports rose by about 15 percent between 2020 and 2021. The agency believes this is due to a decline in 2020 reporting when schools were closed for COVID-19 and mandated reporters had minimal contact with students.
The report gathers county-level and statewide data on the child welfare system. DHS oversees and enforces laws, regulations, and policies regarding child welfare services in each of the 67 counties in Pennsylvania.
“Throughout the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, ChildLine continued taking calls, and county and DHS caseworkers continued investigating reports,” said Snead. “Caseworkers ensured families continued receiving the services they needed. The work these child welfare workers do every day ensures that Pennsylvania children can grow up safely and cared for. The value of their work is immeasurable.”
Who Can Report Child Abuse?
DHS encourages all Pennsylvanians to learn more about potential abuse or neglect signs and report suspicious activity to ChildLine.
“It is all of our responsibility to stop child abuse and neglect, and taking proactive, deliberate action now can prevent tragedies in the future,” said DHS Acting Secretary Snead. “One child’s death is too many. I urge anyone who has concerns for the safety of the children in their life to contact ChildLine immediately.”
According to DHS, signs of potential abuse or neglect can include:
- Numerous and/or unexplained injuries or bruises;
- Chronic, pronounced anxiety and expressed feelings of inadequacy;
- Flinching or avoidance to being touched;
- Poor impulse control;
- Demonstrating abusive behavior or talk;
- Cruelty to animals or others; and,
- Fear of parent or caregiver, among others.