Calls to the state’s child abuse hotline are down dramatically, and that’s not necessarily a good thing, says Department of Social Services Acting Director Jennifer Tidball.

Director Tidball shares DSS updates at Gov. Parson’s COVID-19 briefing on March 21, 2020.

The drop could be because citizens assume operations are suspended or the more serious reality that children do not have access to some mandated reporters: teachers, school nurses, and daycare workers.

“We typically do see this when we have school out, but it’s much more substantial than we would have expected,” she said in a press conference with Gov. Parson over the weekend.

The Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is 800-392-3738 and calls are anonymous.

“We will not close,” Tidball asserts.

“We understand that families are sheltered close together and there is a lot of anxiety. We just want to make sure that we as a community, and we as Missourians, are able to keep kids safe.”