Child abuse referrals on rise in Northwest Georgia after drop in 2020

Staff Photo by Angela Lewis Foster / Blue pinwheels spin outside of Chattanooga City Hall Friday, April 7, 2017 to raise awareness of child abuse.

After a dip in child abuse reports in 2020 during the pandemic, the Children's Advocacy Center in Northwest Georgia has seen an influx of kids who are suspected to be victims of abuse in the first half of 2021.

Many providers in the area had predicted reports would drop amid the pandemic as students had less access to teachers and other mandated reporters who are key to spotting signs of child abuse.

"Those children just didn't have an opportunity to have that outlet to tell," said Anthony Dye, executive director of the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit Children's Advocacy Center. "We kind of figured going into the pandemic back in March, we kind of knew that things were going to slip down.