Calls to D.C. Child and Family Services Agency Have Dropped, but That Doesn’t Mean Child Abuse Has Stopped

For children at risk of abuse and neglect, pandemic-induced social distancing created social isolation and less face time with adults like teachers who usually spot and report signs of abuse. And for children living in neglectful or abusive homes, the pandemic was the perfect storm, according to grantee Ashley Hackett’s report for the Washington City Paper.

In Washington, D.C., calls to the city’s child abuse hotline fell by 62 percent compared to the year prior, but Children’s National Hospital saw a 79 percent increase in patients with abusive injuries. This story delves into how the systems that are meant to protect D.C.’s children failed during the pandemic.