NEWS ABOUT KIDS DURING COVID-19
There was a 28% increase in child Covid-19 cases over the last two weeks, American Academy of Pediatrics says
Madeline Holcombe & Amir Vera | November 24, 2020
As officials continue to warn about traveling over the holidays amid the fall surge, health experts are also investigating the virus’ impact on children.
F’s nearly double amid remote learning in Virginia’s largest school system
Joseph Choi | November 24, 2020
Remote learning during the coronavirus pandemic is having a deleterious effect on grades, according to study done on Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS), Virginia’s largest school system.
Comparing data from last year to this year, the percentage of F’s earned by middle and high school students jumped from 6 percent to 11 percent, with middle schoolers showing a 300 percent spike in F’s and their older peers in high school reporting a 50 percent increase.
The Pandemic Is Increasing Child Sex Trafficking, But Not For Reasons You May Think
Michael Hobbes | November 22, 2020
Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, law enforcement agencies and nonprofit organizations have issued dire warnings that the intense isolation and increased time online would lead to higher rates of child sex trafficking.
In October, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) noted that reports of online child sexual exploitation had doubled in 2020 compared with the previous year. The anti-trafficking charity Polaris said in June that calls to the National Trafficking Hotline had spiked 40% over pre-pandemic rates.
How to help vulnerable students who are struggling with remote learning
Gee and Ursula Show | November 21, 2020
If your child has special needs or is really struggling with remote learning right now, is there help available? How are schools performing for the children who are the most vulnerable? Arik Korman is the communications director for the nonprofit advocacy group League of Education Voters, which is working to improve education for public school students.
Learning to adjust: Students with extra needs face pandemic challenges
Greta Jochem | November 21, 2020
When COVID-19 first hit the United States last spring and schools across the country moved online, middle schooler Brady LePage was happy to be at home — at first.
“For the first couple days, it was fun: ‘Oh, yay, I’m at home,” he recalled. “After a few days, it kind of got old.”
Brady has Asperger’s syndrome and sensory processing disorder, according to his mother, Molly LePage, and he has an individualized education program (IEP). “Where at school you have your IEP and you know the services,” she said, “now he’s really navigating his services.” Including taking movement breaks, which help him concentrate.
Stuck on Mute: Kids in Juvenile Lockups Can’t Be Seen or Heard by Teachers During Remote Learning
Eileen Grench | November 19, 2020
The closure of city public school buildings Thursday also marked the end of in-person classes for another population of New York City youngsters: kids being held in juvenile lockups.
But for the 141 minors jailed citywide, remote learning means a system where they cannot be seen or heard by their teachers during school hours.
They can only communicate with their instructors via text chat, according to teachers and other sources familiar with the system.
The Child-Neglect Pandemic
Remote schooling is taking a toll on kids everywhere, but especially those in vulnerable domestic situations.
Naomi Schaefer Riley | November 19, 2020
Yesterday, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio announced that, once again, the nation’s largest public school system would close, in response to spiking Covid-19 infections—throwing hundreds of thousands of children back into remote-learning environments. The human cost of school closures on children cannot be overstated. According to a new report from JAMA Network Open, the American Medical Association’s monthly open-access medical journal, “a total of 24.2 million children aged 5 to 11 attended public schools that were closed during the pandemic, losing a median of 54 days of instruction.” The report also declares that “missed instruction during 2020 could be associated with an estimated 5.53 million years of life lost. This loss in life expectancy was likely to be greater than would have been observed if leaving primary schools open had led to an expansion of the first wave of the pandemic.”
Schools want to end online classes for struggling kids, but COVID-19 cases may send everyone home
Erin Richards | November 14, 2020
Math teacher Aaron Tomhave found it fairly easy to continue connecting with his students when his district outside of Houston shifted online in March. He’s a tech whiz, and he already had a good relationship with them.
But when the Splendora school district returned to in-person instruction in September, Tomhave noticed subtle differences with his new students: When he rolls up on his mechanic’s stool and asks them about their day and their schoolwork, he gets an authentic and immediate response. He knows that would have been harder over email. His students are grasping concepts more readily in person, too.
The real-life struggles of distance learning, according to 5 families
Elissa Strauss | November 14, 2020
In the not-so-distant past, there was a place where parents could drop off their kids for six-plus hours a day. Teachers and administration kept them safe, and taught them things. It was wonderful.
Teens in Covid Isolation: ‘I Felt Like I Was Suffocating’
Emma Goldberg | November 12, 2020
Before the pandemic, Aya Raji’s days were jam-packed. She woke up at 6:30 a.m. and took the subway to school. At night, she practiced kick-flips with her skateboarding club and hosted “Twilight” movie nights for friends.
Once her school in Brooklyn turned to remote learning, starting last spring and continuing this fall, the days grew long and lonely. Nothing could distract her from the bleak news, as she stared at her laptop for hours during virtual class. She couldn’t sleep, up until 4 a.m., her mind racing with anxiety.
Helping Children With Anxiety in the Pandemic
Perrie Klass | November 9, 2020
Yes, this is an anxious time, and yes, everyone is anxious, but it is particularly hard to be an anxious kid in an anxious time. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health disorders in children and adolescents (and this was true before the pandemic), and they can be linked to other mental health issues, notably depression.
Anxiety can bring children into emergency rooms, and into psychiatric hospitalizations, and in a time of generally heightened stress and anxiety, parents with anxious kids find themselves worrying especially about the worriers, wondering how to talk with them about the complexities of life in 2020, and trying to assess when worry is, well, worrisome enough to need professional help.
DOE hides abysmal attendance numbers amid NYC schools reopening: critics
Susan Edelman | October 31, 2020
The city Department of Education is hiding abysmal attendance in many schools on its website by omitting the numbers of students showing up, critics say.
Mayor de Blasio admitted last week that only 283,000 students — about a quarter of the one million enrolled — have set foot in classes “at least once” since schools reopened. De Blasio had earlier claimed about 500,000 were coming in.
But DOE spokesmen refused to say how many students have shown up more than once or on a regular basis, raising doubts about de Blasio’s ability to deliver the classroom instruction he promised.
Another pandemic is raging: Online child exploitation reports are up 75% in NJ
Dustin Racioppi | October 21, 2020
As New Jersey started locking down in the COVID-19 pandemic, a convicted rapist and registered sex offender from Oklahoma named Aaron Craiger stepped off a Greyhound bus in Atlantic City. He had condoms, marijuana, a phone with child sexual abuse materials on it and graphic plans to carry out his sexual fantasies with two 11- and 12-year-old girls.
Instead, Craiger was met on March 18 by undercover law enforcement in a four-month sting that led to the arrests of 19 men, one woman and one juvenile male accused of sexually exploiting children online.
Reports of child abuse fell dramatically during the shutdown. Advocates say abuse likely did not
Sophie Grosserode | September 23, 2020
The number of reported cases of suspected child abuse and neglect in New York fell by the thousands during the coronavirus shutdown.
But experts say that doesn’t mean it wasn’t happening, only that it was happening out of sight.
“We (never) want one call to come in,” said Joan Silvestri, commissioner of the Rockland County Department of Social Services.
“That’s not good news when we get a call of abuse or neglect, but it certainly is better than it being hidden. We need to know about it so it can be addressed quickly, and when it becomes severe, it’s because we don’t know about it.”
The kids may not be alright. Here’s how to check in on their mental health.
Gulnaz Khan | September 7, 2020
When Lynn Zakeri learned that her two sons would be missing out on the fall of their freshman and senior years of high school amid the pandemic, the licensed clinical social worker was concerned about how they’d cope with another setback. Her youngest son already missed his eighth-grade graduation in the spring, and her eldest had spent months training for his upcoming varsity soccer season.
Reports of Child Abuse Seem To Be Falling: How Can We Know What’s Really Happening?
Daniel Pollack, MSSA (MSW), JD, and Kathryn S. Krase PhD, JD, MSW | September 7, 2020
Since the COVID-19 crisis began, many have been wondering what impact this crisis will have on children and families. More specifically, many experts in and around the field of child welfare wonder if child maltreatment will increase, decrease, or remain the same. Focus in the news has been on the low number of reports of child maltreatment received by child protection services since March:
- Child abuse cases drop 51%. The authorities are very worried
- Child abuse and neglect reports remain down, experts say numbers are not reflecting reality
- Child abuse reports are down during the pandemic. Experts say that’s a bad sign
But how do we really know what’s happening? The bigger question: Did we ever really know what was happening, pre-COVID-19?
New Jersey attorney general, state police announce 21 arrests of alleged child sex predators
Julie Shaw | August 26, 2020
Twenty-one people have been charged with sexually exploiting children online, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal said Wednesday as he and other authorities announced their arrests and urged parents to actively monitor their children’s cellphone, gaming, and internet activities.
Nineteen men, one woman, and a 15-year-old boy were arrested in “Operation Screen Capture,” a statewide effort launched in March — at the start of the coronavirus pandemic — in response to an alarming increase in potential threats to children from online predators, authorities said.
They’re Children at Risk of Abuse, and Their Caseworkers Are Stuck Home
Garrett Therolf, Daniel Lempres & | August 7, 2020
In February, the child abuse hotline for Tollhouse, a small community in the Central Valley, received the first of several tips raising urgent concerns about the well-being of twin infant boys.
Child welfare workers quickly concluded that the infants, just 2 days old, were at grave risk. When they visited the mother, Kristina Braden, she readily admitted that her methamphetamine addiction had continued far into her pregnancy, case records show. This same addiction had contributed to a well-documented history of neglect that had already caused Ms. Braden to lose custody of her three older children.
Free internet coming for 35,000 Philly families: city, schools, Comcast to spend $17M on digital equity plan
Kristen Graham | August 6, 2020
Schools plan to open next month, and West Virginia’s grandfamilies are at risk
Hanna Pennington | August 5, 2020
Fifty-one-year-old Nancy Cook will soon be faced with a choice — send her grandchildren back to school this fall, opening the door to catch the novel coronavirus, or keep them home and risk them falling behind academically.
Cook, a Lincoln County resident raising two of her grandchildren, recently battled breast cancer. Her husband, 61, underwent open-heart surgery last year.
Cook has been caring for her grandson, 8, and her granddaughter, 7, for about three years. She said her grandson struggles in school and receives a modified curriculum, and the coronavirus shutdown put additional stress on the family already in an impossible situation.
State Child Welfare Agency Report Released
August 4, 2020
A Kansas child welfare agency determined that a 3-year-old girl whose battered body was found last month died as the result of child abuse, a finding that comes months after the agency first received reports of abuse.
Laura Howard, Secretary for the Kansas Department for Children and Families, said that she doesn’t see anything at this time that leads her to question her staff’s actions or suggests any missteps by her agency.
COVID-19 a ‘natural disaster’ for child welfare. Now experts consider how to rebuild
Debora Yetter | August 4, 2020
COVID-19 struck Kentucky’s child welfare system like “a natural disaster,” according to Michelle Sanborn, president of Children’s Allianceof Kentucky, comparing the impact to a flood or tornado.
Now the state has to decide how to rebuild a better system as it navigates the ongoing coronavirus crisis, Sanborn said, speaking during a 90-minute online discussion Tuesday that included some of the state’s top child welfare officials and advocates.
School closures meant 200K child mistreatment allegations went unreported in March and April, researchers estimate
Matt Barnum | May 18, 2020
Hundreds of thousands of child maltreatment allegations are going unreported — and thus uninvestigated — while school buildings are closed, a new study estimates.
It’s the latest evidence of the toll that COVID-19-induced school closures are taking onchildren.
The numbers highlight “a hidden cost of school shutdowns,” write researchers Jason Baron, Ezra Goldstein, and Cullen Wallace. “When schools are not in session, whether for regularly scheduled breaks or in response to catastrophes, cases of child maltreatment are more likely to go unnoticed and unreported.”
SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Children
April 23, 2020
As of March 10, 2020, the 2019 novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) has been responsible for more than 110,000 infections and 4000 deaths worldwide, but data regarding the epidemiologic characteristics and clinical features of infected children are limited.1-3 A recent review of 72,314 cases by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention showed that less than 1% of the cases were in children younger than 10 years of age.2 In order to determine the spectrum of disease in children, we evaluated children infected with SARS-CoV-2 and treated at the Wuhan Children’s Hospital, the only center assigned by the central government for treating infected children under 16 years of age in Wuhan. Both symptomatic and asymptomatic children with known contact with persons having confirmed or suspected SARS-CoV-2 infection were evaluated. Nasopharyngeal or throat swabs were obtained for detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA by established methods.4 The clinical outcomes were monitored up to March 8, 2020.
With no school, calls drop but child abuse hasn’t amid virus
Beth Hanson | April 18, 2020
With schools closed and teachers unable to report suspected cases of abuse and neglect, child welfare agencies have lost some of their best eyes and ears during a stressful time for families who have lost jobs and are locked down together during the coronavirus pandemic.
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, and across the country, states are reporting fewer calls to child abuse hotlines, not because officials believe there are fewer cases but because they’re going unreported.
Child abuse cases rising in Big Country during coronavirus pandemic
Daniela Ibarra | April 14, 2020
Child abuse cases are rising in the Big Country, according to the Regional Victim Crisis Center.
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, which is meant to raise awareness and help prevent child abuse.
With everyone staying home to keep others safe from the spread of the coronavirus, the Regional Victim Crisis Center believes Child Abuse Prevention Month is more important than ever.
Why children are at risk of sexual abuse and exploitation during COVID-19
April 7, 2020
COVID-19 has now spread to virtually every country in the world and has a devastating impact on people, economies, health systems, and communities. While most people’s lives are put on hold, criminals are finding ways to take advantage of the situation, including those who seek to sexually exploit children. ECPAT has gathered information on how children are at increased risk of sexual abuse and exploitation during this global pandemic.
As the world responds to COVID-19, we see that push factors that facilitate or lead to sexual exploitation of children are expected to intensify. According to ECPAT members across the world, restrictions imposed by governments worldwide to curb the virus heavily impact on children. Today, ECPAT is present in 102 countries, through 118 members.
The Coronavirus Could Cause a Child Abuse Epidemic
Nina Agrawal | April 7, 2020
Entire families are sheltering at home, often in close quarters. Anxiety about health, education and finances is high. Children aren’t seeing the teachers, counselors and other adults who would normally raise concerns about their well-being. The Covid-19 pandemic has created the conditions for a rise in child abuse that could go unchecked.
Global Lockdowns Resulting In ‘Horrifying Surge’ In Domestic Violence, U.N. Warns
Scott Neuman | April 6, 2020
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, citing a sharp rise in domestic violence amid global coronavirus lockdowns, called on governments around the world to make addressing the issue a key part of their response to the pandemic.
Speaking late Sunday, Guterres said “violence is not confined to the battlefield.”
“For many women and girls, the threat looms largest where they should be safest — in their own homes,” he said, appealing “for peace at home — and in homes — around the world.”
Why child welfare experts fear a spike of abuse during COVID-19
Laura Santhanam | April 6, 2020
Over the course of five consecutive days last month, Dr. Jamye Coffman saw seven children and infants who had been abused so severely that they required hospitalization at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas. At the time, the city, along with the rest of Texas, had recently declared an emergency over the rapid spread of novel coronavirus. Typically, the hospital sees fewer than 10 cases of fatal child abuse in a year, but that week, two died from their injuries.
It is too early to link this single — and anecdotal — spike in severe child abuse to the COVID-19 pandemic and the stress it’s causing, said Coffman, who serves as medical director of the Cook Children’s Center for Prevention and Child Abuse and Neglect. In fact, it will take more than a year to get a clearer picture of what’s happening nationwide, due to the lag in collecting and sharing child welfare data.
Police see rise in domestic violence calls amid coronavirus lockdown
Tyler Kingkade | April 5, 2020
Reports of domestic violence increased in March in many cities around the country as the coronavirus pandemic spread, according to law enforcement officials — raising concerns about families’ safety as they isolate at home.
Of the 22 law enforcement agencies across the United States that responded to NBC News’ request for data on domestic violence calls, 18 departments said they had seen a rise in March. Houston police received about 300 more domestic violence calls in March than they did in February, a roughly 20 percent increase. Charlotte-Mecklenburg, North Carolina, police fielded 517 additional calls about domestic violence in March compared to the same month last year, an 18 percent jump, while Phoenix police received nearly 200 more calls, an increase of nearly 6 percent.
Coronavirus Illinois: Child advocates concerned abuse may be going unaddressed during stay-at-home order
April 2, 2020
Illinois child advocates are worried about some of the most vulnerable in our society: children.
Reports of child abuse and neglect are dramatically down in Illinois which would normally be welcome news, but those numbers may be the unintended consequence of the stay-at-home order.
Experts told the I-Team they believe the number of abuse cases is significantly higher than normal, it’s just nobody is reporting them.
Teaching Your Kids to Be Safe Online: A Hasty Primer
Melinda Wenner Moyer | April 2, 2020
If you had asked me two months ago how I felt about digital media as a parent, I would have had an answer ready: Our kids, I would have said, won’t own devices or touch social media until age 13. I probably would have launched into a tirade about how young brains can’t handle the complex rules of digital citizenship, after which you probably would have wanted to smack me with a smartphone.
Then the coronavirus happened. All of my clever plans flew out the window. Now, my 8-year-old practically lives on our family tablet — doing a bit of online learning, sure, but also games, chat, FaceTime and email. Our 5-year-old is not that far behind. And really, who can blame us? My husband and I want our kids to feel socially connected even as we isolate ourselves in our home. We also have full work schedules and no school, no child care and no extracurriculars to keep our kids busy and keep us sane. Screen time has become our life line.
Calls to Pa.’s child-abuse hotline fell sharply during first weeks of the coronavirus. Here’s why that’s bad news.
Angela Couloumbis | April 1, 2020
State’s child welfare agency scrambles to protect workers as it braces for spike in child abuse reports
David Jackson | March 30, 2020
Domestic violence will increase during coronavirus quarantines and stay-at-home orders, experts warn
Marissa Lang | March 27, 2020
Domestic violence victims, stuck at home, are at risk during coronavirus pandemic
Scottie Andrew | March 27, 2020
Home is the safest place to be while a pandemic rages outside. Health officials have said as much for weeks now.
Out of sight, child abuse in Texas thought to be on the rise
Emma Platoff | March 27, 2020
On paper, the number of children being abused and neglected in Texas appears to be going down as the state reckons with a deadly viral outbreak. If only that were true.
Fewer suspected cases are being reported to the state’s abuse hotline, but child welfare advocates say that decline is artificial and belies a grim reality: Amid a global pandemic that has killed tens of thousands and shuttered schools, day cares and other social services, more Texas children are likely suffering from abuse.
“The reality is, incidences will likely be on the rise,” said Sophie Phillips, chief executive officer of the advocacy organization TexProtects. “We know that additional strain and stress on families during this crisis puts children at an increased risk of abuse.”
For Abused Women, a Pandemic Lockdown Holds Dangers of Its Own
Alisha Haridasani Gupta & | March 24, 2020
Early last week, as the novel coronavirus exploded from state to state, a woman called the National Domestic Violence Hotline in a crisis: Her partner had tried to strangle her and she needed medical help, but feared going to the hospital because of the virus.
Another woman was being forced to choose between work and home. “He threatened to throw me out if I didn’t work from home,” she said. “He said if I started coughing, he was throwing me out in the street and that I could die alone in a hospital room.”
Texas Hospital Says Two Preschoolers Died Of Suspected Child Abuse in One Day—And It Could Be Linked To the Coronavirus Outbreak
Chantal da Silva | March 23, 2020
Doctors at a children’s hospital in Fort Worth, Texas, say the deaths of two preschool-aged children from different families in a single day could be linked to the coronavirus outbreak.
Speaking with Newsweek on Monday, Dr. Jamye Coffman, the medical director of the Child Advocacy Resources and Evaluation (CARE) team at the Cook Children’s Hospital, said that doctors had already sounded the alarm after they noticed a rise in the number of children being admitted into the facility due to suspected child abuse.
Cook Children’s sees spike in child abuse cases likely from COVID-19 stress
Natalie Solis & Gerardo Martinez | March 23, 2020
Cook Children’s Medical Center says it has treated seven cases of severe child abuse in the last week. Two of those children died from their injuries.
The hospital says it usually averages six deaths a year from abuse. The seven cases came to the hospital between Tuesday and Saturday. Every child was under 4 years old.
Paedophiles will exploit coronavirus lockdown to target children, police chief tells parents
Charles Hymas | March 23, 2020
Parents need to be alert to the increased risks to children from online paedophiles as time on computers rises during coronavirus quarantine.
School Closings Due to COVID-19 Present Potential for Increased Risk of Child Exploitation
March 23, 2020
Due to school closings as a result of COVID-19, children will potentially have an increased online presence and/or be in a position that puts them at an inadvertent risk. Due to this newly developing environment, the FBI is seeking to warn parents, educators, caregivers, and children about the dangers of online sexual exploitation and signs of child abuse.
Coronavirus: Closures risk ‘spike’ in child sex abuse
Tes Reporter | March 22, 2020
Experts are preparing for a spike in public reports of child sexual abuse on the internet as schools across the UK close during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) is concerned children might be at greater risk of being groomed and coerced into making explicit content, given that many will undoubtedly spend more time online from Monday.
Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Will Rise During Quarantines. So Will Neglect of At-Risk People, Social Workers Say
Joaquin Sapien, Ginger Thompson, Beena Raghavendran & Megan Rose | March 21, 2020
While most Americans huddle inside their homes watching and worrying as the coronavirus pandemic stalks the country, desperate emails have poured into ProPublica, some almost shouting their fears for the unseen victims of the vast and unprecedented national shutdown.
A Florida social worker wrote of her panic for her developmentally disabled clients, who are shut in their homes, unable to even use the bathroom without help. What will happen to them if she and her colleagues fall ill?
“We’re going to be seeing some deaths in our caseloads,” she said in an interview. “We might not even know about it until they’ve been dead for several days.”
As Cities Around the World Go on Lockdown, Victims of Domestic Violence Look for a Way Out
Melissa Godin | March 18, 2020
“My husband won’t let me leave the house,” a victim of domestic violence, tells a representative for the National Domestic Violence Hotline over the phone. “He’s had flu-like symptoms and blames keeping me here on not wanting to infect others or bringing something like COVID-19 home. But I feel like it’s just an attempt to isolate me.“
Her abuser has threatened to throw her out onto the street if she starts coughing. She fears that if she leaves the house, her husband will lock her out.
For people who are experiencing domestic violence, mandatory lockdowns to curb the spread of COVID-19 (the disease caused by the new coronavirus) have trapped them in their homes with their abusers, isolated from the people and the resources that could help them.
TAKING PROTECTIVE STEPS DURING THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC
Darkness to Light | March 16, 2020
The impact of the coronavirus is being felt across the world, and we know it may be difficult to maintain your normal child protective steps while adapting to the ever-changing environment. Your child’s school has been canceled (maybe even for weeks!) and there is a coronavirus quarantine, but you still have to go to work. What do you do? Of course, best practice suggests that you prescreen your childcare providers, check references, and hold a pre-sitting “interview” to get to know them and their skillset. But during this temporary “new normal,” that simply may not be possible.
Staying Safe During COVID-19
March 13, 2020
Avoiding public spaces and working remotely can help to reduce the spread of COVID-19, but for many survivors, staying home may not be the safest option. We know that any external factors that add stress and financial strain can negatively impact survivors and create circumstances where their safety is further compromised.
Abuse is about power and control. When survivors are forced to stay in the home or in close proximity to their abuser more frequently, an abuser can use any tool to exert control over their victim, including a national health concern such as COVID-19. In a time where companies may be encouraging that their employees work remotely, and the CDC is encouraging “social distancing,”an abuser may take advantage of an already stressful situation to gain more control.