Two weeks ago Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas reported six new cases of severe child abuse. All of the children subject to abuse were under four years old. Doctors and professionals believe that this abuse is rising from stress over the current ‘Stay At Home’ order of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Christi Thornhill, the director of the Trauma Program, the CARE team, and Fostering Health of Cook Children’s explains that a rise in abuse cases was expected, but how quickly the cases began to rise was unexpected. Given that the hospital normally sees the same amount of cases over a month it is quite shocking.
The medical director of the Cook Children’s Center for Prevention and Child Abuse and Neglect and the CARE team, Jamye Coffman, M.D., explains the connection between abuse and stress from the current pandemic. Dr. Coffman lists financial stress from loss of work and income and the stress of being overcrowded. She explains that feeling of being stuffed together causes high levels of stress that most parents cannot handle. In addition to this, Dr. Coffman explains that the unending stream of information on COVID-19 factors into parents’ stress. Dr. Coffman urges parents to reach out for support during this time. She says maintaining human connection with friends or family outside the home, just to have someone to call and express frustrations to.
Thornhill urges people to be proactive in reporting and being aware of child abuse during these difficult times. The primary group that reports child abuse are teachers, and as children are not around teachers during this time neighbors and family members need to be proactive in paying attention to these needs. Childhelp.org provides many resources to help prevent child abuse during this time. In addition, the National Child Abuse Hotline is 1-800-4-A-Child or 1-800-422-4453.
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At the Adoption Law Firm, we care greatly for the safety and well-being of children. If you need legal assistance during these troubling times please reach out to ask about a consultation today.
About the Author:
Brennan DePace was born and raised as a pastor’s child and has carried with him the strong Biblical values passed on from his father. DePace is the youngest of five children who received a rigorous and thorough home-schooled education. He is now a Freshman at Auburn University at Montgomery studying History, with the hopes of attending law school and becoming an attorney. Depace serves as Legal Assistant to the Hon. Samuel J. McLure of The Adoption Law Firm.