First Lady Susan Hutchinson joined the governor for his daily briefing on Monday to shine a light on the number of children in abusive situations who are no longer in contact with professionals who can see the signs of abuse.


Over the weekend, the number of cases in Arkansas rose to 1,923, with 1,133 currently active. Many of the new cases were in Cummins Correction Facility.


As of Monday, there were 93 hospitalizations and 42 deaths in the state. Three of those hospitalizations are within Cummins.


First lady Hutchinson pointed out that April was Child Abuse Awareness Month. Usually, she would travel around the state to raise awareness though events. Because of COVID-19, she has not been able to do any of her usual events.


She took the opportunity of the governor’s daily briefing to share the child abuse hotline at 1-844-SAVE-A-CHILD. This hotline is staffed with professionals ready to respond 24/7 to statewide reports. The first lady stated that local authorities are still the best option in cases of emergencies.


Director of the Division of Children & Family Services (DCFS) Mischa Martin stated that their goal is to ensure the protection of children in dangerous situations.


Martin shared that DCFS currently has 4,400 children in foster care. She also stated that judges have been holding court via video conference in order to make sure kids are in a safe environment.


Martin also encouraged anyone who suspects a child is in an abusive situation should call the hotline. Since schools closed, the DCFS has reported 3,148 calls which is 50% more than this time last year.


Governor Asa Hutchinson stated that Arkansas is “fighting the virus every day.”


According to a graph released by the White House, Arkansas has one of the highest testing rates with 60-90 tests per 100,000 residents. Only 15 states were at this rate or higher.


Even with nearly one-third of positive cases in correctional facilities, Hutchinson believes Arkansas is reaching a plateau with new cases.


The governor hopes to begin reopening the state slowly on May 4. Over the two weeks that lead up to that, the governor will assess the situation to see if that is a feasible date.


Those in need of help can call the Mental Health & Addiction Services Support Line Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 1-844-763-0198 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255.