Life in Lockdown
Across the country, people have been staying inside their homes to prevent the spread of COVID-19. While this is a strong effort that saves lives, the hard reality is that it puts some at higher risk for abuse or neglect. Children in unsafe homes no longer have access to the same resources and help they would have outside their homes.
Behind Closed Doors
While we want to think that children being at home with their families is the safest place, this is not always the case. With added stressors of COVID-19 like lost jobs, food insecurity, or fear, caretakers may take out feelings of frustration on their children through mental, emotional, and/or physical abuse. Without a school to go to or friends to see, these children don’t have anywhere to turn for help. In normal, pre-COVID-19 circumstances they would be public in the presence of mandated reporters fairly regularly.
Dealing with abuse and neglect is never easy, but during these times, it is especially challenging for these children to get the help they need. There are no friends, teachers or social workers for them to see and confide in about what is going on. Children who have already been deemed to be at risk of abuse or neglect are not getting the same kind of care from social services. And the new reality of living in close quarters 24/7 with adults experiencing heightened stress makes abuse more likely to happen.
The Matthews House continues to fight against generational cycles of poverty and abuse. Although our Transition Facilitators (caseworkers) aren’t spending as much time in person with youth and families for the time being, they are still connecting with and checking on them regularly. Our staff have been dropping off food boxes, prepared meals, and fun care packages to help ensure that the kids get nutrients and other supplies they need. When they see children through the window, they make an effort to connect even with a simple smile. We want these kids to know that they are loved and that we will do everything we can to make sure that they are okay.
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. Thanks for taking a few minutes to learn a little about this issue!