KENTUCKY — The U.S. Health and Human Services Child Maltreatment Report found in the year 2020, 17 out of every 1,000 children in Kentucky experienced some type of child maltreatment.

As a result, many child advocacy experts said because of the pandemic, those numbers in 2020 were likely under-reported. 

Tonya Jernigan is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with the Division of Pediatric Forensic Medicine at the University of Kentucky and joins this segment to share some signs of child abuse to be on the lookout for.

"One of the things that we know is that young children are at the greatest risk of child abuse. And so research has provided us with a really easy to use way to kind of look for child abuse. Any bruising or tear on the torso, the ears and the neck for children age four or younger should really be cause for concern. So in your daily routines if you're working with children, seeing children, you have children at your home and in your neighborhood, if you see bruising on the torso, ears and neck. That's one thing that we can know is definitely a sign for child maltreatment and that should be reported to Child Protective Services," said Jernigan.

Anyone with a reasonable suspicion that a child is dependent, abused or neglected is required to make a report to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

​To report child abuse and neglect call toll-free any of the numbers listed below.
(877) 597-2331/(877) KYSAFE1 
(800) 752-6200
Report Online - non-emergency only
Monitored from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday.  Reports will not be reviewed during evenings, weekends or state holidays. 
Call 911 in case of an emergency

You can watch the full In Focus segment in the player above.