WASHINGTON, P.A. (WTRF)- The past nine months have been difficult on Americans but the impact of stay-at-home restrictions has put children at a greater risk for abuse.

According to research conducted by the National Children’s Alliance, Children’s Advocacy Centers reached 40,000 fewer children during the first six months of the year, compared to 2019.

The Watchful Shepherd USA, a national nonprofit organization devoted to saving the lives and preventing the abuse of children, is working to raise awareness of this growing issue.

They say the abuse and hospitalizations since the start of the pandemic have been much worse.

“The numbers are increasing and they’re showing that with the added stress in these homes due to financial reasons, housing issues, an uptick in drug problems, alcohol problems, the increase of abuse is staggering,” said Tracy Walnoha, Executive Director of the Watchful Shepherd USA.

The Watchful Shepherd is accepting donations to install units into homes that allow those at risk to contact help with the click of a button. To donate you can visit www.watchful.org