What happens when you have a family that is financially strapped and unable to meet the basic necessities of a child? Since the recession hit, there is an uptick of reported child abuse cases.
“We’re finding that it is directly attributable to what is happening economically,” she said. “Many of the hospitals around here report an increase of 20 to 30 percent of requests for consultation regarding suspected child maltreatment.”
Many cases bear the imprint of economic troubles, like a 9-year-old diabetic boy hospitalized after his mother, a single parent, could no longer afford insurance co-payments needed to treat his disease. She left him home alone for long stretches on days when he required medical attention.
“She had difficulty with the bare bone things that would keep this child healthy,” said Scobie.
Add to the mix overwhelmed social service agencies and we have the perfect storm for prolonged child abuse.