Child abuse-related near fatalities in Northampton County went down in 2020, even as state numbers rose

Written by on October 14, 2021

Child abuse-related near fatalities in Northampton County went down in 2020, even as state numbers rose

By Chloe Nouvelle

October 14, 2021

A recent report from the state of Pennsylvania found child abuse and neglect-related fatalities and near fatalities rose in the commonwealth in the first 10 months of the pandemic. 

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But Northampton County didn’t see a rise in deaths or near-deaths. It actually saw a decline.

According to state data, in 2019, Northampton County had zero child abuse and neglect-related fatalities and three near fatalities. In 2020, the county’s fatality figure remained at zero, but near fatalities went down to one.

Maria Torres, administrator of Northampton’s Children, Youth, and Families Division, credits part of her team’s success to “family engagement” initiatives which connect at-risk families with people in their lives who can help them.

“We do try to get our families connected with resources that already exist, where they can have a respite,” said Torres. “Like, if a family needs a little bit of a break from the child, that they can have a safe place where the child can be for a temporary amount of time without us placing the child in a foster care setting.”

Torres also said her agency is well staffed with a headcount that stands at around 150 people, which allows them to help more families in more ways. 

If you suspect a child is suffering from abuse and neglect, you can call the state’s hotline at 1-800-932-0313.

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