TUCSON (KVOA) – According to the Arizona Department of Child Safety, the number of calls coming into the DCS hotline by mandated reporters has increased 25 percent now that children are back in the classroom.
In the state of Arizona, mandatory reporters are required by law to learn how to recognize the signs of abuse and neglect so the child can be brought to safety.
“Children have been in their homes at least the past three to four months and have not had interaction with mandated reporters, so now that schools are open, there are more eyes on these children. So that is why we’re seeing an increase in the numbers of calls to the hotline,” said Mollie Mesaros from DCS.
Child advocates said sometimes the signs of abuse are obvious and sometimes not.
“They seem afraid to talk about having nightmares, or they talk about now wanting to go home those are far more obvious but you can also notice a child is not keeping themselves as clean or they’re not really interested in anything,” said Marie Fordney from Children’s Advocacy Center of Southern Arizona.
Experts said there are plenty of resources for families to prevent abuse from happening.
“At-risk parents become more confident and successful and happy parents thus, bad things that happen to children are less likely to occur,” said Dr. Eric Schindler from Child and Family Resources.
For more information on resources or to report child abuse go to dcs.az.gov.