When summer break begins, reports of child abuse and neglect decline
When school ends and summer break begins, calls to the Colorado Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline — 1-844-CO-4-KIDS — drop significantly. Last year from May to June, calls dropped by 23 percent. This decrease is attributed to the end of the school year because teachers and school employees, who are all mandatory reporters of child abuse and neglect, no longer see children every day.
“Every May and June we see the same trend – calls to the Hotline decrease once school is out for summer,” Minna Castillo Cohen, director of the CDHS Office of Children, Youth and Families, said. “That’s why we’re asking everyone — neighbors, rec center staff, church members, and friends and family — to play a role in strengthening families. Everyone needs help from time to time, and a call to the Hotline can help a parent get the support their family needs.”
The statewide Colorado Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline phone number is 1-844-CO-4-KIDS. The Hotline serves as a direct, immediate and efficient route to Colorado’s 64 counties and two tribal nations. All callers are able to speak with a trained call-taker 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
“You don’t need to know exactly what’s happening at home in order to make the call,” Laura Solomon, intake child protection administrator for the Division of Child Welfare, said. “Calling the Hotline is the best way to let the professionals know that you have a concern so they can assess a child’s safety and well-being. In most cases, children remain with their parents while the family gets the services they need. That’s our number one goal.”
Last year, county human services agencies throughout Colorado helped 20,814 children and their families involved in an open child welfare case. In 68 percent of those cases, children remained in their home while their parent or caregiver addressed safety concerns. Thirty-two percent of children moved to an out-of-home placement, such as living with a relative, foster family or in a congregate care setting, such as a group home or residential treatment facility. For those young people in out-of-home care, the primary goal is to return home.
For parents, knowing where to get help and having a network to lean on can make a real difference. Examples of ways individuals, businesses and communities can support families at any time include:
- A family member can offer to babysit so parents can take a break
- A neighbor can offer to help with yard work to lighten the load for a young family
- Recreation centers can host playgroups and offer Summer programs for children and teens
- Local libraries can offer story times for children and parents
- Employers can allow flexible work schedules
Visit CO4Kids.org to learn about the signs of child abuse and neglect and to get involved in your community. Call 1-844-CO-4-KIDS to report your concerns about child abuse and neglect. If a child is in immediate danger, dial 911.
May 30, 2019