Across Washington State and the country, kids can hardly contain their excitement for summer break - no matter how hard their teachers try to keep them focused. (Teachers, stay strong!) Kids are daydreaming about summer camps, sun-filled days, visits from the ice cream truck and even sleeping in.
But when the final school bell rings and all of the kids jump for joy for what's to come in the next few months, we can't forget that the end of the school year also means fewer eyes on these kids. In fact, school may be a child's daily escape from the abuse or neglect they face at home. Considering educators are one for top reporters for child abuse and neglect, will there still be someone there to notice is something seems off?
While there is a lengthy list of people who are required by law to report suspected child abuse or neglect - called mandated reporters - when school is not in session, there are simply fewer opportunities to see them. Sure, doctors, dentists and police officers are mandated reporters, but they still don't see these kids on a daily basis like teachers do.
That's why it's important that our communities step up and stay alert during summer. If you suspect child abuse or neglect - of the neighborhood kids, a child you see at the store or park - report it immediately by calling 1-800-ENDHARM. Visit the Department of Social & Health Services website for more details on the reporting process. If you do not live in Washington State, learn how to report in your state.
Together, we can all play a part in keeping children safe.