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Reports of child abuse in Malheur County fall during pandemic, worrying experts

In April and May, the child welfare office of the state Department of Human Services initiated about half the number of child protective services investigations it had during that period last year in Malheur County.

ONTARIO – When the Covid pandemic forced schools to close in the spring, the state’s child welfare office in Malheur County saw a drop in child abuse reports.

Such investigations are assigned based on screenings of calls to the child abuse hotline, mostly from mandatory reporters – workers, including teachers, counselors, coaches and pediatricians, who are legally required to “make reports if they have reasonable cause to suspect abuse or neglect,” according to the state Department of Human Services.

The department said the . . .