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Today's Family Magazine

Help keep children safe from abuse and neglect

By the Cuyahoga County Division of Children and Family Services 

The coronavirus pandemic leaves more children at risk for abuse and neglect.  Families may have already been struggling with finances, poor housing, domestic violence or substance abuse. Now the added stress brought on by the pandemic could push them to a breaking point.  Moreover, shuttered schools, daycares, and other outlets leave vulnerable children away from teachers, counselors, or other adults who often support or protect them.

COVID-19 also displayed the way racial disparities impact the health and well-being of African-Americans.  Recent events, such as the killing of George Floyd and police response to protests, highlighted the stark reality for many of our families.  Generation after generation of violence and exclusion have inflicted trauma on African-American families and we often see the impact in child welfare. 

Despite all this, child protection specialists are still working to help keep children safe.  The hotline is staffed 24/7 with people who can offer help to a struggling family or send a child protection specialist to investigate alleged abuse.  We are also looking for ways to impact our system, support families, and improve outcomes for the disproportionate number of minority children in child welfare. 

We can’t do this work alone.  Here’s how you can help.

Report abuse and neglect. We need caring adults to help DCFS find out which families need help, which children are at risk, and which children are suffering from abuse.  The Cuyahoga County Division of Children and Family Services launched new ways to report suspected cases of abuse and neglect as a result of increased risk due to COVID-19.  

Ways to report

Become a foster parent. The opiate epidemic caused the number of children in foster care to rise across the state over the past several years.  That means finding safe, appropriate, and immediate placement for children has been a daunting task.  During the pandemic the need has become increasingly urgent.  For more information on becoming a foster or adoptive parent call (216) 881-5775 or visit our website at everychildneedsfamily.com.

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