What about the children?: Protecting the vulnerable during the COVID-19 crisis

By Dr. Erica Fener Sitkoff, Executive Director, Voices for Georgia’s Children 

Foreword by Andrea N. Smith, President, The Junior League of Atlanta, Inc.

DBHDD Commissioner Judy Fitzgerald

Since its inception 103 years ago, The Junior League of Atlanta, Inc. (JLA), has partnered with and advocated for children’s health and education. In the face of our current global pandemic, COVID-19, when things are so unsettled, it is easy to lose focus on those mistreated children whose trained eyes like teachers and educators are apt to recognize. JLA’s partnership with Voices for Georgia’s Children, a  nonprofit organization committed to policy and advocacy for Georgia’s children, has been pivotal in helping raise awareness and creating legislative change. Our decades-long partnership has focused on advocating for Georgia’s children through sharing key facts with lawmakers at legislative sessions and participating in the annual Georgia Pre-K Week at the Capitol. During these unprecedented times, it is more important than ever to stay hyper vigilant for our children – tomorrow’s next generation. Since April is National Child Abuse Month, we’ve asked Erika Sitkoff, Executive Director of Voices for Georgia’s Children, to pen this piece about Georgia’s vulnerable children – shedding light on the current situation and how we can be on the  front line to keep children safe and healthy.

National Child Abuse Prevention Month –  is an annual event designed to raise awareness about the long-term impacts neglect and abuse can have on a child. But in this time of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and shelter-in-place orders, thousands of children in Georgia are facing heightened risk of harm. School closures seem to have made time stand still, leaving children and youth at home, away from friends and neighbors, and perhaps most importantly, away from the largest group of child abuse and neglect reporters: Teachers.

This article was first published on Saporta Report. Click here to read full article.