MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Erie Times E-Edition Article – COVID takes heavy toll on Pa. kids

Posted by M. C. on September 1, 2020

Many children have or soon will return to in-person schooling. Putting them within view of teachers adds a critical layer of protection. But some children might remain at home and perhaps in danger.

This is the  ET-N editorial staff talking. Home bad, (government) school good. USA/Gannett is doing a number on your “hometown paper”.

Lockdown is causing a lot of bad stuff to happen, not just what is described below. There are two big reasons these thing are happening in PA and they are not home and family.

https://erietimes-pa-app.newsmemory.com/?publink=01333747e

The issue: Abuse spikes amid pandemic Our view: Vigilance, support are key

We talk about the damage wrought by COVID-19 in terms of lives and jobs lost. But as USA Today Network reporter Candy Woodall detailed, the virus is taking a hidden toll on the most vulnerable among us — children.

They often might be spared from coronavirus infection. But isolation created by school closures and community shutdowns and the economic and mental strain the pandemic places on parents and caregivers has been accompanied by an alarming surge in child abuse cases.

Reports of suspected child abuse are down in Pennsylvania and that is no wonder, since some of those best positioned to spot abuse and neglect and report it — teachers — for long months could not see children except perhaps via video links.

But as abuse reports dropped off, the number of children treated by doctors for serious abuse-related injuries has jumped, Woodall reported.

In 2019, 144 children died or nearly died of abuse or neglect statewide, according to state data. In 2020, from Jan. 1 to July 15, that number had already surpassed the previous year’s total, climbing to at least 155. The number represents those referred to child welfare investigators, according to the state Department of Human Services.

Doctors at Penn State Children’s Hospital saw a surge of serious injuries begin in June, with some children winding up in critical condition in the intensive care unit. Dr. Lori Frasier, chief of the hospital’s child abuse pediatrics division, told Woodall that that added parental stress caused by the pandemic, including unemployment or having only one parent available to care for children, is leading to abuse.

In Philadelphia, Dr. Norrell Atkinson pointed to another form of injury to children on the increase, more cases of children ingesting toxic substances, including drugs abused by their parents.

Abusers don’t usually inflict violence or neglect in the open.

They act in private and often threaten children to keep them from telling someone who could help.

Many children have or soon will return to in-person schooling. Putting them within view of teachers adds a critical layer of protection. But some children might remain at home and perhaps in danger.

This trend calls for all of us to remain alert to and report suspected signs of child suffering or neglect around us and lend support to the agencies that are on the front lines, offering services and support to abused children.

If you encounter families struggling under the pressures created by this pandemic, reach out.

The Children’s Advocacy Center of Erie County website, http://www.cacerie.org, lists resources to help people weather the pandemic safely, including information about the Safe2Say Something program, www.

safe2sa.pa.org. It includes an app that puts users in touch with help at any time.

Be seeing you

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