The Tulsa Area United Way, together with the Parent Child Center, Child Abuse Network and Family & Children's Services have started a new coalition to educate the community about ways to identify and report child abuse. On April 27, 2020, the organizations launched an awareness campaign under the theme of Look Out Reach Out.
Child welfare experts say during periods of social distancing, many children are at higher levels of risk than normal. Families are under a great deal of stress and can take frustrations out on children. Further, schools and daycares are the most common places to identify and report potential child abuse, but those institutions are temporarily closed as a result of COVID-19.
The coalition is urging the community to reach out to any families that may be at risk. They recommend communicating by video calls as much and possible and to specifically ask to talk with children in the household.
Experts also say during periods of social distancing, a nontraditional group of people may have the best chance to spot signs of abuse. This includes grocery store clerks, food delivery personnel, and anyone who might go to a home such as home repair workers and technicians.
Any concerns over child safety can be reported anonymously to the Oklahoma Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-522-3511.
The coalition hosted a webinar on April 29 to address concerns and provide tips for prevention.
To report a child at risk, call the Oklahoma Child Abuse Hotline: 800-522-3511
For help managing stress, call the COPES COVID Emotional Support Line: 918-744-4800