ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Federal officials said the pandemic has increased the risk of child abuse.
More time at home during the pandemic has also increased at home violence, and that includes child abuse.
At least one out of seven children in the United States are victims of child abuse or neglect, according to Prevent Child Abuse America, an advocacy organization.
Susan Hardy is a counselor at Phoebe’s Behavioral Health Program. She said that the hospital has seen an increase in cases, and when they see a problem they take action.
“My co-workers have told me that the authorities may have to be involved. Department of Family children’s services. And this is a long process for that child,” she said.
Dougherty County’s Division of Family and Children’s services handles these cases. Their website links to Prevent Child Abuse America, where people are asked to support the Child Abuse Prevention Treatment Act or CAPTA.
Prevention is key as the results of child abuse are long-lasting.
“The adults that I work with. They are still dealing with issues from childhood,” Hardy said. “The child may not have a mental illness, but they could develop one. They could develop depression, anxiety, especially during this time.”
To report child abuse in Dougherty County, call the Child Protective Services Central Intake Center at (1-855) 422-4453.