Summer brings unreported child abuse cases
As temperatures rise this summer, so can the number of child abuse cases.
Children's of Alabama says the heat, bored children -- coupled with no breaks for caregivers -- can increase the likelihood for abuse.
Teachers and daycare workers are mandated child abuse reporters. If children aren't in school, they aren't able to report. That's why it's important during the summer months for people to be on the lookout for signs of abuse.
"The heat can play a factor in children's attitudes, and caregivers attitudes," said Debra Schneider, director of Children's Hospital Intervention and Prevention Services.
The CHIPS center provides immediate medical care for child abuse victims.
"We also have counseling services for the children and non-offending caregivers," Schneider said.
She explains why cases may go unreported during the summer months. "The reports may not be as prominent, because we're not getting the report from the school systems," she said.
Schneider says having a set structure for children can relieve stress for parents and caregivers -- in return, decreasing chances for abuse.
"Don't let them get bored, give yourself a break as a caregiver," she said.
The Alabama Department of Human Resources says anyone is encouraged to make a report if he or she suspects a child is being abused or neglected.
Schneider says people should properly vet their child's caregivers
"If it's someone who doesn't know your child, or know your child's behavior and personality, maybe they should spend some time with your child - get to know them - before you consider them to be the person you're going to leave the child with," Schneider explains.
Alabama DHR stresses the importance of reporting cases this summer, whether it be contacting law enforcement or county DHR offices.
You can do so anonymously.