Letter: It’s up to us all to keep children safe during this time of social distancing
In this time of social distancing, we must all work to remain socially close to children. Child abuse and neglect is likely on the rise in the face of this pandemic, as families are put under more financial and emotional stress, but reporting may be down. Children are no longer in the public eye — they are not at schools or daycare, or in other locations where caring adults would be able to spot signs of abuse.
Northwest Rocky Mountain CASA volunteers are one group of people who speak up for children. Our volunteers work with children in the child welfare system who have experienced abuse or neglect in our community. We meet with children in person at least monthly, advocate for children’s best interests and provide information to judges which help them make the most well-informed decisions for each child.
These in-person visits provide an opportunity for CASA volunteers to ensure the child is safe and well-cared for. Right now, meeting in person with the children they advocate for is difficult or impossible. This means it is harder to gauge what is going on in children’s lives and their needs. Staff and volunteers at CASA are finding creative ways to continue to meet with children, relying heavily on phone and virtual contact.
It’s up to all of us to make sure children are safe. Here are some resources to learn more or report suspected abuse or neglect:If you suspect a child is in immediate danger, contact the police or 9-1-1.
To report suspected abuse or neglect, contact the Colorado Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline at 1-844-CO-4-Kids and your concern will be routed to the County Department of Human Service where the children reside.
For information on preventing abuse, visit the website of Child Abuse America at https://preventchildabuse.org/.
• If you are a parent or caregiver who needs support, contact the National Parent Hotline at 1‑855‑427‑2736 or go to https://www.nationalparenthelpline.org/what-we-do.
If you are willing to get involved in a life-changing and sometimes life-saving cause — the safety, health and wellbeing of a child — join us in speaking up for a child at this time of community crisis. When the world re-opens, the need will be greater than ever.
Those who want to change a child’s life as a CASA volunteer can use this time to learn more about the children we serve and to take advantage of virtual training sessions. For information on Northwest Rocky Mountain CASA please visit our website at kidscasa.org.
Routt County program coordinator
Northwest Rocky Mountain CASA
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