With people working from home and children not in school, the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services is seeing a decrease in reported child abuse and neglect.
The coronavirus pandemic has shut down schools, parents are working from home, and families are quarantined in their houses.
From February 15th to the 29th over 15 hundred calls were made to the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services. Since the coronavirus pandemic, calls have dropped to around 900. A significant decrease in reported child neglect.
Lea Brandon with the MDCPS explains why they think reports have declined.
"What we've actually seen is a drastic decline in the number of reports that we're having made through our website and our hotline. And first blush you'd think oh that's great news, because you know that means it's declined, but unfortunately based on past history we've realized it's because there's not as many eyes on these children. They're not in school, they're not going to their regular doctor's appointments, they're not playing sports, they're not in church. So, people aren't seeing them to be able to report concerns," Brandon said.
In the state of Mississippi, anyone 18 years and older is required by law to report any abuse or neglect.
"Well, you really just have to be more aware in your own neighborhood and your own circle. If you're walking through the neighborhood and you see something that may concern you they can go to our website and make a report online, it can be anonymous if they want to. Of if you just hear of people in need. Probably more than 60% of the reports we get are for neglect, not abuse, so they can call our hotline and we can connect them with services that these families need. So it's a helping call that people are making," Brandon said.
To report neglect or abuse call the number 1-800-222-8000 or file a report online at www.mdcps.ms.gov.