State leaders report decrease in Child Abuse Hotline calls

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — UPDATE: The Department of Human Services reached out to us to correct themselves.

Keith Metz with the Office of Communications and Community Engagement with the Arkansas Department of Human Services said Director, Mischa Martin, misspoke during the April 20 press conference about the calls to the Hotline.

He said the number of calls to the Hotline from March 12 to now is correct at 3,148 calls.

However, instead of that number representing an increase in the number of calls from the same time period last year, it is actually a decrease in the number of calls (down from 5,275).

“As both Director Martin and Ms. Lang mentioned, with everyone practicing social isolation right now, there are fewer eyes on children, hence the lower number of calls about suspected child maltreatment,” Martin said.

ORIGINAL STORY: LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — State leaders report an increase in the number of calls made to the Child Abuse Hotline number.

Mischa Martin serves as director of the state’s division of children and family services.

She said since the pandemic started, over 3,100 calls have been made to the hotline.

That is a 50% increase in calls during the same time period last year.

The First Lady of Arkansas also touched on the importance of reporting suspected child abuse amid the crisis.

“We do want to be looking out for the children. The things that happened in your childhood lasts a lifetime – the good, the bad, and the very ugly, and we’re trying to eliminate as much of that ugliness as possible,” Susan Hutchinson said.

The number is 1-844-SAVE-A-CHILD.

KNWA/KFTA reached out to the Northwest Arkansas Children’s Shelter (NWACS) to see if it’s seen an increase in calls.

NWACS Development Director Carla Laing said the shelter hasn’t seen a huge influx in calls, but she said she worries about children not coming into contact with as many people who report abuse and neglect — like teachers at school.

“Anytime you come in contact with kids, even if it’s just for a short amount of time, keep your eyes on them, watch them, listen to them,” Laing said.

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