According to a report by Statista —the world’s leading platform for data, statistics, forecasts and studies— Reported child abuse cases in the United States for the year 2020 totaled 618,399. Of this large number —which does not represent the real figure because many people do not file a complaint— more than 150,000 were victims whose age was between 2 and 5 years of age. This shows that from an early age to adolescence, children who are 5 years old or younger represent the most vulnerable group, becoming a target for this type of crime that implies, in itself, a whole range of atrocities: from acts of abuse and neglect to sexual abuse.
With the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic and the confinement that this entailed, Both in the United States and in the rest of the world, cases of domestic violence increased, including child abuse due to a discouraging scenario: considering the tendency that they are almost always close adults who may even be members of their immediate family group, the victim spent much more time close to their abuser, in danger or suffering at their hands.
For that reason, considering the fear of the victims or possible witnesses, the only figures in the equation that can issue a complaintthe United States government provided a series of tools that remain to be able to report cases of child abuse before it is too late.
How to recognize child abuse?
According to USA.gov, There are several symptoms that can reveal a situation of child abuse and that can be present even if the events are not happening in real time:
1. Changes in school performance or problems with behavior in this setting.
2. Lack of attention.
3. Trouble concentrating or learning.
4. Sudden worry or fear that something bad is going to happen.
5. Docile, passive or extremely withdrawn attitude.
6. Wishes not to come home, to school or to any other place where activities are carried out.
How to report cases of child abuse in the United States?
In cases of child abuse, although it is possible, it is very unlikely that the victim will file a complaint with the authorities. In fact, the chances become almost nil the smaller the affected. In that sense, the following resources are much more aimed at adults who come to have suspicions or are witnesses to these types of acts:
1. Child abuse: When we witness any type of child abuse or suspect that a child is being abused, we can file a report with the appropriate local police department or State Child Protective Services Agency.
2. Child exploitation: calling toll free at 1-800-843-5678 at any time of the day, in case of suspicion of any type of exploitation, sexual or not. This number is also used to report a kidnapping or disappearance.
Next, there are also the state agencies through which reports of child abuse can be processed:
Alabama Department of Human Resources
Alaska Department of Health and Human Services
Arizona Department of Child Safety
Arkansas Department of Human Services
California Department of Social Services
Colorado Department of Human Services
Connecticut Department of Children and Families
Delaware Department of Children, Youth and Family Services
District of Columbia Agency for Children and Family Services
Florida Department of Children and Families
https://www.myflfamilies.com/contact-us/(opens in a new window)
Georgia Division of Children and Family Services
Hawaii Department of Human Services
Idaho Department of Health and Welfare
Illinois Department of Children and Family Services
Indiana Department of Children’s Services
Iowa Department of Human Services
Kansas Department for Children and Families
Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services
Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services
http://www.dss.state.la.us/page/199(opens in a new window)
Maine Department of Health and Human Services
Maryland Department of Human Services
Massachusetts Department of Children and Families
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
Minnesota Department of Human Services
Mississippi Department of Child Protective Services
Missouri Department of Social Services
Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services
Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services
Nevada Department of Health and Human Services
New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services
New Jersey Department of Children and Families
New Mexico Department of Children, Youth and Families
https://cyfd.org/contact us(opens in a new window)
New York State Office of Children and Family Services
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
North Dakota Department of Human Services
Ohio Department of Job and Family Services
Oklahoma Department of Human Services
Oregon Department of Human Services
Pennsylvania Department of Human Services
https://www.humanservices.state.pa.us/HUMAN_SERVICE_PROVIDER_DIRECTORY/(opens in a new window)
Department of the Family of Puerto Rico
Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families
South Carolina Department of Social Services
South Dakota Department of Social Services
Tennessee Department of Children’s Services
Texas Department of Family and Protective Services
http://www.dfps.state.tx.us/Contact_Us/map.asp(opens in a new window)
Utah Department of Children and Family Services
Vermont Department for Children and Families
Virginia Department of Social Services
Washington State Department of Health and Social Services
West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services
Wisconsin Department of Children and Families
Wyoming Department of Family Services
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