COLORADO (KRDO) -- According to the Colorado Department of Human Services, the Colorado Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline is showing a 13% year-over-year drop in calls.
In El Paso County, those numbers have been fluctuating all year long, but now that kids are back to in-person learning, EPCDHS is seeing those hotline numbers spike up.
"During the pandemic we were seeing lower numbers because kids were not in school," said April Jenkins, Youth and Child Intake Manager for the El Paso County Department of Human Services.
The calls from mandatory reporters, which includes educators, doctors dropped dramatically.
El Paso County shows a big difference in calls between 2019 and 2020.
In April of 2019 El Paso County had 2,394 calls reported. In 2020 those calls dropped to 1,451. That’s almost a 60 percent decrease.
However, as things begin to slowly open back up, things are picking up on the hotline.
“We just in the last week have started to see some signs of pre-covid numbers, numbers going back up, I can compare to 35-40, maybe 50 calls during the day during COVID, but just in the last couple of days we have seen calls going back up into the 80s and 90s," added Jenkins.
They believe a big reason for this was the lack of in-person interaction kids had with school and medical professionals.
“Mandatory reporters are usually a significant portion of callers to the hotline, I don’t have the exact percentage recently, but the last time I checked which was the previous year, we were evenly split between regular citizens calling and reporters," added Kristina Iodice, public information officer for El Paso County Department of Human Services.
Risks factors for child abuse and neglect include social isolation, family and parenting stress, financial insecurity and the absence of child care or school which are all factors that increased during the pandemic.
“Families have been a lot of stress during this pandemic so using your resources, using your support, those are a huge way that families can prevent child abuse and neglect because they can get that break that they need," said Jenkins.
According to the Colorado Department of Human Services nearly 70% of child welfare cases, counties are able to provide in-home services directly to families to help them address some of these issues so children can remain safely with their parents.
For more resources you can head to their website.
If you or someone you know is experiencing any abuse or neglect, contact the hotline: 844-CO-4-KIDS