School closures and stay-at-home policies have contributed to a major reduction in tips to child protective services about possible neglect and abuse, according to an investigation by the News4 I-Team.
Local child protective services agencies said calls have increased, at least moderately, since spring. But declines in calls from summer 2019 to summer 2020 persisted, the I-Team found.
The reduction in tips comes amid concerns actual abuse might be increasing. Stop Child Abuse Now of Northern Virginia, a leading child advocacy organization, said the strains of the pandemic could fuel neglect or abuse in homes.
“We all understand that it’s stressful to be isolated at home. There are stresses of job loss, a lack of respite for parents and the children are at home,” said SCAN Northern Virginia Director Leah Fraley.