Calls to NJ child abuse hot line up

April 10, 2009 6:31:30 AM PDT
Officials are worried the recession is driving up calls to New Jersey's child-abuse hot line.

The hot line received 6,185 complaints in March. That's up from 5,104 February and 5,070 in March of 2008.

Officials say those numbers represent calls referred to local offices for investigation to see if children are at risk. Most come from tipsters.

State Children and Families Department spokeswoman Kate Bernyk says the agency thinks the increase reflects the current economic crisis.

Bernyk says the last time there was such a spike was March 2006, when the hot line received nearly 7,000 calls. Officials believe that was fueled by the case of a 7-year-old who was beaten to death by her stepfather in New York City.

Information from: The Record of Bergen County,

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