By Shannon Martin
To the Editor:
I’m an intake investigator for Connecticut’s Department of Children and Families. Before this pandemic, it was normal to get three cases of reported child abuse a week. Now, it’s half that. After 20 years of experience, I know that reports drop during extended periods of time staying at home.
Abuse hasn’t suddenly stopped, there is less ability and fewer outlets to report it. Especially for children, the normal places they could report abuse or it could be spotted aren’t accessible: teachers at school, parents of friends, pediatricians, a trusted family member or neighbor. As we start to rebuild and reconnect, we can expect a surge of reported cases. But my coworkers and I can’t be there to help if we aren’t working.
Connecticut’s budget is facing huge pressures because of COVID-19. But we won’t be able to rebuild if we cut the vital services our neighbors need, like getting out of dangerous and abusive environments. I am an essential employee, so I am out here working every day. But I don’t want to be thanked with a pink slip. Neither do my coworkers, or the nurses, first responders, school custodians and others our communities depend on.
Congress can avert this problem by passing $1 trillion in funding for states and cities to maintain services. It is the best way to rebuild our economy as soon as possible and it is the best way to make sure we can help those in need when they are finally able to report