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Office of Children's Services
 

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We all have a role to play to keep children safe

In times of crisis and economic insecurity, rates of child abuse and neglect increase. However, reports to child protective services have declined dramatically during the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We need all adults to step up: family members, neighbors, essential workers serving families in grocery stores and pharmacies and delivering goods to homes, and school professionals who are still working with children virtually, can all be the eyes and ears for kids and help keep them safe. ALL ADULTS need to be aware of their responsibility to protect children.

You are essential to child safety during this time

If you suspect that a child is experiencing abuse or neglect, or is witnessing domestic violence, here is how to make a report, so that someone can reach out to help. Please note that the Office of Children’s Services is working closely with ICWA workers in Alaska’s smaller communities to make sure that children and families get the help they need in a timely and safe way. 


For immediate emergencies call 911


To report child abuse call the Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-478-4444


For more information on recognizing and reporting child abuse: www.reportchildabuse.alaska.gov


Other ways to help

In addition to making a report to help initiate services, Futures Without Violence offers the following advice (also available as a document in English and Spanish with more details) on how to support children and adults living with violence:

  • Reach out: Let your loved one know that they are not alone and you can offer judgment-free support and listening.
  • Send basic necessities: Ask your loved one what they need and help provide it, and connect them to resources in their community, like food banks (you can call 211 to learn about local resources).
  • Interrupt or Intervene: Work with your loved one to create code words they can use for different kinds of interventions they need from you.
  • Provide a “warm referral” to services: When a loved one can recommend and vouch for a hotline or service, especially one that matches the needs of the person in danger, it can feel less intimidating. If it’s safe to do so, you can also make the call together.
  • Provide virtual or physical respite: Offering to read children a story over videochat or supervise them from a safe distance while they play outside might give an adult the chance they need to breathe. And although sheltering-in-place means physically interacting only with household members, people in danger may need a safe place to go if their own home is not safe. Consider alternative housing options, or work with local services or authorities to consider alternate sites for shelter-in-place or quarantine.
  • Use the power of your relationship: If you have a strong or positive relationship with someone who is causing harm, use your relationship call them and talk to them about how to handle their behavior. Use this time as an opportunity for real talk and support them in getting help. Ask them if they can work with you to make a behavioral plan and give them local and national helplines they can call to get support to stop causing harm.
  • Send texts or other messages of love and encouragement: Bearing in mind that anything you send to a loved one may be read by an abuser, provide simple, affirming messages of support to let them know they’re not alone.
  • Take care of yourself while taking care of others: Knowing or suspecting that a loved one is in danger can be taxing and can wear us thin. Make sure you are asking for and receiving the support and respite you need.

Are you a mandated reporter?

With children out of school and having fewer in-person interactions with health care, social work, mental health, and other professions, there are fewer opportunities for noticing and reporting harm. Your role is more important than ever before, and you may be the only person to notice or help.

Remember:

  • You do not have to KNOW that abuse is happening; make a report if you suspect abuse or neglect
  • Making a report is asking for services to help children and families

For more information: www.reportchildabuse.alaska.gov

To report child abuse:
Call: 1-800-478-4444
ReportChildAbuse@alaska.gov
or Fax: 907-269-3939

Resources

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