Department of Children and Family Services | St. Louis Public Radio

Department of Children and Family Services

Calls To Illinois' Child Abuse Hotline Dropped Nearly 50% Amid Coronavirus Spread

Mar 25, 2020
The rate of emergency room admissions for child sex abuse in the U.S. nearly doubled between 2010 and 2016, according to research from Saint Louis University.
Maria Fabrizio | NPR

With schools, day care centers and preschools around Illinois shut down as part of statewide efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus, calls to the Department of Children and Family Services’ abuse and neglect hotline have dropped dramatically over the past week.

But child welfare experts and others don’t believe this decline reflects a decrease in abuse; on the contrary, many fear that children are now at a greater risk of being hurt as families, many facing additional stress over work and health issues, hunker down in isolation.

Because children aren’t in school or child care, the teachers, social workers and counselors most likely to spot signs of abuse and who are required by state law to report those allegations can’t.