DCFS asks for public's help amid sharp drop in possible child abuse, neglect reports

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- With schools out for the remainder of the academic year and families stuck at home, a lot of children' advocates are concerned about high levels of stress for these families.

Advocates want to raise awareness that some children might be at higher risk for neglect and even abuse.

Bobby Cagle, director of the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), joined ABC7 via Skype to discuss.

1) With kids not going to school, what are your biggest concerns that might be happening at home with children?

"Typically, our reports come from the public and the biggest source of reporting is our teachers and school personnel. We've seen a 50% drop-off in the number of reports that we're seeing and that directly report corresponds with what we would receive from schools. So, we're very concerned because we have to have those calls to be able to begin our jobs of protecting children and families," Cagle said.

2) Has the DCFS department seen an increase or decrease with your Child Abuse Protection Hotline?

"It's about a 50% decrease in the number of calls that we would typically receive. We receive on average about 800-1,000 calls a day. We receive about half of that right now," Cagle said.

3) With a stay-at-home order, when it comes to DCFS employees, how are they doing their jobs to make sure children are safe?

"We still do have staff that go out on every call to make sure that children are safe. That is an expectation that we carry out on a daily basis. The problem is that the fewer calls we have, the less opportunity we have in order to be able to do our jobs. And so, what we're asking for is first, for the public to really be watching children to assure that they're getting what they need. And to call us if they need assistance. We are glad to intervene, not just in reports, but also to assist families. That's a part of our jobs that is less known by the public," Cagle said.

For more information about DCFS:
dcfs.lacounty.gov

If you suspect child abuse, call: 1-800-540-4000.
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