SALINAS, Calif. (KION) - As the school year gets underway, advocates for children are expecting an influx of reports of neglect or abuse.
When it comes to mandated reporting for child abuse and neglect, teachers make up the largest reporting party.
With kids back learning in person, trusted adults are able to see warning signs more clearly than when classes were on zoom.
"Kids who are in abusive or neglectful situations really haven't been seen in the last couple of years… so as kids are going back to school teachers and coaches and faith leaders, community members… kids are being seen again and we are expecting an influx of children coming into the foster care system because of that," Dana Prelsnik with CASA of Monterey County.
On the Central Coast, Neglect is the number one reason kids are removed from their homes and can appear in many ways including:
- Having clothing that doesn't match the season.
- Food Insecurity
"If kids are taking more food than others or kind of hoarding their food, that's one indicator," says Prelsnik.
Meanwhile, experts say while being back to school offers more opportunities to be out of the home and independent - which is good for their development - they recommend staying in tune with what your kids are doing and who they're talking to online.
Recently tech giants like Apple, TikTok and Instagram, have initiated safety and privacy measures for children and young adults who use their technology.