By AMY BETH HANSON Associated Press
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — With schools closed and teachers unable to report suspected cases of abuse, child welfare agencies have lost some of their best eyes and ears as the coronavirus pandemic strains families. States are reporting fewer calls to child abuse hotlines, not because officials believe there are fewer cases but because they're going unreported. Agencies nationwide are asking neighbors, relatives, store workers and others to fill the reporting gaps that have emerged with school closures. Officials say child abuse and neglect are likely to increase with families facing job losses and being locked down together at home during the outbreak.

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