La Crosse Co. Human Services Dept. says pandemic may be to blame for increase in child welfare calls

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – There is more concern than ever for kids in our area.

Because of the pandemic, many kids are isolated in their homes where it’s safe.

But in some cases, home is a dangerous place where kids face abuse or neglect.

The La Crosse County Human Services Department said there has been an increase in calls to the Child Welfare Access Department between January and August.

Social workers have responded to 41% of those calls – compared to 34% last year.

Human services said the reason people make these calls ranges.

“We separate [the calls] out between a child welfare case, meaning parents are calling and saying ‘I need help.’ Versus a CPS call, where someone is saying ‘I’ve seen abuse and neglect and I believe somebody needs to go out and check on the home’,” said Lila Barlow, Family & Children’s Assistant Manager, La Crosse Co. Human Services Dept.

Barlow explained that the pandemic has left many parents struggling and some have turned to unhealthy ways of coping.

But not all of these parents are ‘bad parents’ or abusive parents, they just need help.

Human Services has resources to help families going through this tough time.

Click here to learn more.