The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in significant changes to everyday life, including sudden adjustments to routines, challenging circumstances and financial strain, all of which contribute to household stress. These circumstances can be especially challenging for households already at risk, or parents and guardians with little or no support system. This can contribute to an increased incidence of child abuse or neglect, says Channing Petrak, MD, medical director with the Pediatric Resource Center.
“A number of the safety nets for our children are no longer in place. Schools are closed. Case workers may not be calling on families in the typical way, and well-child visits to doctor’s offices have been cancelled,” Dr. Petrak explains. “These are all ways that children experiencing abuse and neglect are often referred to us for help. The fact that these safety nets are not there is reason for concern.”
The Pediatric Resource Center, a service provider for the University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria, is open and providing specialized medical services to children who may have been physically or sexually abused or neglected. For more information, call (309) 624-9595 or visit pediatricresourcecenter.org. PM