When Summer Break Begins, Reports of Child Abuse and Neglect Decline

When school ends and summer break begins, calls to the Colorado Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline drop significantly, the Colorado Department of Human Services reports.

Last year from May to June, calls dropped by 23 percent. This decrease is attributed to the end of the school year because teachers and school employees, who are all mandatory reporters of child abuse and neglect, no longer see children every day.

“Every May and June we see the same trend – calls to the Hotline decrease once school is out for summer,” Minna Castillo Cohen, director of the CDHS Office of Children, Youth and Families, said. “That’s why we’re asking everyone — neighbors, rec center staff, church members, and friends and family — to play a role in strengthening families. Everyone needs help from time to time, and a call to the Hotline can help a parent get the support their family needs.”

The statewide Colorado Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline serves as a direct, immediate and efficient route to Colorado’s 64 counties and two tribal nations. All callers are able to speak with a trained call-taker 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Last year, county human services agencies throughout Colorado helped 20,814 children and their families involved in an open child welfare case. In 68 percent of those cases, children remained in their home while their parent or caregiver addressed safety concerns.

Thirty-two percent of children moved to an out-of-home placement, such as living with a relative, foster family or in a congregate care setting, such as a group home or residential treatment facility. For those young people in out-of-home care, the primary goal is to return home.

For parents, knowing where to get help and having a network to lean on can make a real difference. Examples of ways individuals, businesses and communities can support families at any time include:

  • A family member can offer to babysit so parents can take a break
  • A neighbor can offer to help with yard work to lighten the load for a young family
  • Recreation centers can host playgroups and offer Summer programs for children and teens
  • Local libraries can offer story times for children and parents
  • Employers can allow flexible work schedules

Visit CO4Kids.org to learn about the signs of child abuse and neglect and to get involved in your community.

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