When Lee Starck read about a recent 45% drop in reported cases of child abuse and neglect in Montana, he was skeptical.
“I think the opposite may be true,” said Starck, a K-4 school counselor in Stevensville, Montana. “When you think about the chronic stress of this time, the economic hardship, I doubt that’s an accurate picture of what’s going on.”
A new study suggests Starck is probably right. Three researchers found that reported cases of child maltreatment in Florida was 27% lower that it usually is this time of year. This drop is, in their words, “counterfactual” and is likely being mirrored across the country. School closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the researchers write, have severed the “link between child maltreatment victims and the number one source of reported maltreatment allegations – school personnel.”