Petrarca: ChildLine remains available to report possible child abuse, neglect during COVID-19 pandemic

HARRISBURG, April 16 – April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, and state Rep. Joseph Petrarca wants to remind residents that ChildLine, the statewide 24/7 hotline for reporting suspected child abuse or neglect, is fully operational and available.

Petrarca, D-Westmoreland/Armstrong/Indiana, who serves as the Democratic chairman of the House Children and Youth Committee, said as Pennsylvanians continue to navigate the current public health crisis, it’s vital they do all they can to keep all children safe and prevent child abuse.

“Our children count on us to look out for their wellbeing, and with social distancing and the closure of schools across Pennsylvania, there are fewer people that may be interacting with children who may need help,” Petrarca said. “If you see or suspect a child is being abused or neglected – please call ChildLine and make a report.”

Petrarca said signs of potential child abuse or neglect can include, but are not limited to:

  • numerous and/or unexplained bruises or injuries.
  • chronic or pronounced anxiety and expressed feelings of inadequacy.
  • flinching, or an avoidance of being touched.
  • poor impulse control.
  • cruelty to animals or others.
  • demonstrating abuse behavior or talk.
  • fear of parent or caregiver.

Anyone can make a report to ChildLine by calling 1-800-932-0313, and if you are not a mandated reporter, calls made to ChildLine are anonymous. Mandated reporters should visit www.KeepKidsSafe.pa.gov to make a report.

“I’ve been assured by the state Department of Human Services, which oversees ChildLine, that calls are constantly monitored, and information is being promptly reported to county agencies for investigation despite working remotely,” Petrarca said.

ChildLine reporters do not need to prove abuse or neglect – a report does allow trained child welfare workers and law enforcement personnel to properly investigate, Petrarca added.