DES MOINES, Iowa — Child abuse is an ongoing problem in our country and community, and one that’s been hidden during the pandemic.
Data shows child abuse reports went down significantly in the earlier parts of the pandemic when kids weren’t at school, activities, or places where they can be checked on.
Prevent Child Abuse Iowa Marketing and Communications Manager Alli Moerman said that doesn’t mean abuse stopped. She said reports returned to a more typical level when kids were back under the eye of mandatory reporters and other social supports.
It’s been a challenging and stressful year for those who help victims and families including family support workers, social workers, and foster care parents. That’s why Prevent Child Abuse Iowa is hosting a virtual conference to provide support and resources for them. This year’s theme is “Cultivating Community.”
“This is a job that can really build a lot of burnout for people that are working with such difficult situations and families day in and day out,” Moerman said. “We really intend this conference to serve to recharge and reignite that passion for wanting to build those skills and resources within your own professional life in order to serve those families, but also to build those connections with people who are doing something similar to you have similar passions to you that you have those connections to lean on as well.”
Moerman said the pandemic is continuing to have an impact, but professionals may not know the full outcome of child abuse and neglect until later.
“What we do know that the risk factors for child abuse and neglect have increased over the last year,” Moerman explained. “So things like concrete supports for families, financial support, loss of income, food security, rental income, that kind of thing has all increased for families and that adds stress for parents that are trying to wear a lot of hats in their household. So they’re not only mom and dad but they are teacher and they are childcare so that all adds into additional risk factors for child abuse and neglect.”
The virtual conference is taking place on May 3 and 4. The cost is $100. To register click here.
There are ways to help if you don’t attend the conference by donating and advocating. Gov. Reynolds proclaimed April as Child Abuse Prevention Month.