The people who run the state’s child abuse and neglect hotline have spotted a trend—spikes in reports at certain times of the year.
The hotline can count on about 35-hundred calls a month, most months. But there are three months when the calls spike as much as 15-hundred more than normal.
State social services department spokesman Brian Hauswirth says the spikes come in August, September, and January. They might dip in June, July, and December.
The reason? Think of what happens in Missouri in August, September, and January. We think it’s because children have been out of school several months…They’re returning to school in August and they’re being seen regularly by teachers and staff," he says. The numbers also go up in January when the children return after Christmas break.
Hauswirth has looked at the monthly figures as far back as the start of 2005. He says the spikes have happened in the same months every year, at about the same levels.
About 45 percent of the calls are referred for field investigations. Hauswirth didn’t have figures on how many of those investigations lead to prosecutions, but he says department staff works closely with prosecutors and the courts.