Teachers across the state are calling upon their fellow Coloradans to stay aware and call the Colorado Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline if they suspect a child may be in danger in order to keep children out of harm’s way.
“As a teacher, my duty to my students goes well beyond academic instruction,” said Cara Godbe, a third-grade teacher in Montrose. “When my gut tells me something seems off, and I become concerned for a child’s welfare, I am obligated to report it,” said Cara.
In 2019, about 70% of children and teens involved in child welfare cases in the state stayed safely at home while their family received services from assistance in applying for benefits to classes that teach parents how to manage their stress. This year, the calls to the Colorado Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline dropped by 50% when students began transitioning to online learning toward the end of March and following stay-at-home orders the following months as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Unfortunately, a decrease in calls to the hotline does not mean there is less abuse and neglect happening,” said Minna Castillo Cohen, director of the CDHS Office of Children, Youth and Families. “We need everyone who may be concerned about a child or youth to make the call to the hotline to ensure our kids are safe and families can be connected with resources to help them thrive,” said Minna.
Awareness tips for interacting with families from a safe distance this summer include:
- Is your gut telling you something just isn’t right?
- Are you noticing uncharacteristic changes in a child’s behavior?
- Does it appear that a family is struggling, perhaps with food insecurity?
- Is there crying – especially endless crying – coming from home?
- Are kids sharing things about their friends that concern you?
- Err on the side of caution. It is better to be wrong than to not report your concerns.
- You don’t need to have all the details when you call the hotline.
- Call the hotline and let the professionals determine if a family needs help.
“My hope is that all Coloradans – neighbors, friends, and members of each community – will take up that mantle this summer and help families get the support they need to keep kids safe,” said Cara.
For more information about signs of child abuse and neglect, visit CO4Kids.org. or call 844-CO-4-Kids to report concerns about child abuse and neglect.