April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. It is an opportunity for us, as community members, to reflect on our responsibility to protect the children around us and to remind ourselves that even those who are not mandated reporters can and should report when necessary.
Permissive reporters - those not required by law to report child abuse - are even more important this year when so many children have stopped being seen in person by those who would typically identify and report child abuse. In 2018, for example, nearly 21% of child abuse and neglect referrals were made by educators. In 2020, nearly 93% of families with school-aged children engaged in some form of distance learning, meaning the face-to-face time that might allow an educator to recognize signs of abuse or neglect was either severely limited or non-existent.
We cannot expect professionals to be the only safety net for our children. It is everyone’s responsibility. If you suspect abuse or neglect, report it.