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Virtual learning has effect on child abuse reports

Published: Aug. 14, 2020 at 5:45 AM EDT|Updated: Aug. 14, 2020 at 5:55 AM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Educators have a role to play in reporting child abuse and neglect. But what happens when teachers don’t physically see their student because of remote learning?

Lucas County Children Services is gearing up for September, which is always a busy month for them. When school is back in session, the kids are once again around those teachers, who are mandatory reporters of situations like child abuse.

But this year, students have been away from their teachers for much longer than the usual summer break, so Child Services is unsure what to expect.

During the COVID shutdowns, referrals to Children Services have been down, but the referrals are more likely to be serious enough to require intervention.

Children Services executive director Robin Reese says she’s interested to see what happens to the referral numbers this September. She thinks that teachers will still be able to see those problem signs, even through a computer screen.

“People’s assessment skills, even virtually, are developing. Figuring out in a virtual visit what to look for, what questions to ask. So I’m hoping that’s a skill that most people have picked up,” says Reese.

Reese believes the data collected during this period may be able to help Children Services in the future.

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