With more than 20,000 children in the Los Angeles foster care system, Five Acres has been working to keep the numbers low by providing safety, well-being, and permanency to children and youth in foster care. During April, Child Abuse Prevention Month, Five Acres is raising awareness, advocacy, and action.
For many students, schools have reopened and that means going back to the classroom and personally connecting with teachers. Teachers and administrators are mandated reporters for many children and youth who are experiencing child abuse at home. Amidst the pandemic, calls to report child abuse have declined, and children are less likely to confide in their teachers while learning remotely at home.
According to the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services, on average, the county’s Child Protection Hotline received up to 1,000 daily reports before the pandemic. Since the closures, however, there has been a decline in calls of up to 50 percent.
“We are concerned for children who have experienced abuse behind closed doors and had no means of reporting it to a trusting adult like a teacher, school counselor, or peer,” said Five Acres CEO Chanel Boutakidis, which is why Five Acres launched its HOPE line as a safe space for individuals to call, text or email.
The HOPE line staff helps people in need of support in mental health, prevention of child abuse, domestic violence, and families seeking to become foster resource families Individuals who take action to stop child abuse bring safety into children’s lives. The HOPE Line is here to help children experiencing trauma. Individuals can call or text the HOPE Line at 1-800-696-6793 or email HOPE@5acres.org to report or get support.
Now that students will be returning, Five Acres anticipates a rise in child abuse reporting, especially with the financial hardships, stressors, and trauma of the pandemic. To access additional resources, visit https://5acres.org/i-need-help/additional-resources/.
Individuals also can make a donation to Five Acres and help towards securing a permanent, loving home for all children in their care. To learn more about Five Acres, visit 5acres.org.