AP Exclusive: Pandemic means far fewer eyes on kids’ welfare

Published: Mar. 29, 2021 at 8:14 AM CDT
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LANSFORD, Pa. (AP) — An Associated Press analysis has found that reports of child abuse plummeted during the coronavirus pandemic, as children are out of the public eye and away from usual reporters of welfare problems.

The AP analyzed more than a dozen indicators in 36 states. Of those states, Wisconsin ranked seventh for the steepest decline among reported abuse cases, with nearly a quarter fewer cases last year than in 2019, the report found.

The findings reveal how the pandemic has ripped away systemic safety nets and showed signs in various states that officials are dealing with more urgent cases.

AP found that child abuse reports, investigations, substantiated allegations and interventions dropped.

More than 400,000 fewer child-welfare concerns were reported during the pandemic compared with the same time period of 2019. There were 200,000 fewer child abuse and neglect investigations and assessments.

That’s a national total decrease of 18% in each category.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.