Sheltering-in-place is a privilege. It’s for those with steady homes. Those who are living in a safe space, away from violence, and discrimination.
Turn to our juvenile justice system where youth in detention centers, adult prisons, and juvenile justice facilities are either confined in unsanitary, unsafe conditions or forced into trauma-inducing 23-hour solitary confinement. Children in foster care too often don’t fare any better. Kids in group homes, always bad places for them because of the risk of abuse, are now hotbeds of possible infection with children unable to practice social distancing to keep themselves and those around them healthy and safe.
For children who are at home, family life can be tense. With schools closed indefinitely, millions of children and their parents are now literally shut inside—many under difficult circumstances. Astronomical job losses make it hard to pay for food and housing. Many families are stretched to the max caring 24/7 for not just their kids, but for older family members who have fallen ill. That can be a lot in normal times, but these are not normal times.
Calls to child abuse hotlines across the US are dramatically down – and that’s not a good thing. Learn how COVID-19 is putting kids at risk as never before by watching this newscast out of Detroit – it features Children’s Rights Executive Director Sandy Santana.
“The shelter-in-place order and the school closures have literally made, in my view, millions of millions of kids invisible to the professionals that are trained to spot abuse and neglect,” said Santana, who says over half of reports of abuse and neglect that come into hotlines are made by trained professionals, such as teachers. JooYeaun Chang, the head of the state’s Children’s Services Agency, stated that they will conduct targeted outreach specifically in the metro area where 40% of the state’s foster care children live.
Stories like what Michigan is observing aren’t difficult to find. As we continue to monitor these systems across the nation, we can easily point you towards 20 stories just like Michigan’s. We are gratefully accepting pledges and donations towards our Coronavirus rapid response programming.
Consider becoming a Children’s Champion for as little as $10/month. Your contributions will help us ensure the health and safety of vulnerable children during and after this challenging time.
Together we can help reshape the future of our child welfare systems.