Protect Our Children: Effects of the Pandemic

Hope lies ahead as the pandemic continues
NEW YORK (WABC) -- The program is hosted by Eyewitness News Anchor Shirleen Allicot, and focuses on the continued impact the pandemic has had on youth, with advice from professionals on how we can address and improve the mental, emotional and physical health of youth.

Despite the ongoing pandemic, the special shares stories of individuals who faced difficult challenges and survived hardships that seemed insurmountable.

Some of the featured stories include the following:

- While COVID-19 ravaged the country, the ongoing opioid crisis increased with some cities reporting more opioid-related deaths than COVID-19. A recovering addict in New Jersey, whose journey with drugs and alcohol started when he was 13, shares his accomplishment of how he obtained his graduate degree and is a caseworker helping others through recovery.

- The energy of a 20-year-old who has been in multiple group homes since the age of four and survived a period of incarceration on Rikers Island is inspiring; and a tribute to the organizations and social workers who are stepping up to help youth in need.

- While the tri-state area has been in lockdown during the pandemic, there's been an increase of domestic abuse. In addition, child exploitation has dramatically increased with sextortion and child porn. The special shines a light on this issue and provides guidance to survivors on how to reach educators and professionals who can be of help.

- Confinement at home has led to issues with physical and mental health. A Long Island family shares their intervention experience with their 7-year-old child during the pandemic. Viewers will hear from pediatricians and mental health experts that provide advice to parents on how to help children navigate their health during the pandemic.

The special features experts that include clinicians and researchers from Prevention Links, Union County Star Program, NJ, GOSO Getting Out & Staying Out, Child Advocacy Center, The Safe Center LI and the Healthy Weight & Wellness Center at Stony Brook Children's Hospital.

WABC-TV has long been dedicated to covering the important issues of health and safety of youth in the community. WABC's "Protect Our Children" campaign, which launched in 1998, includes informational safety messages, a dedicated website and a missing children campaign that can be seen on every WABC Eyewitness News program. The station has produced a number of compelling local programs addressing the stress-related problems plaguing a vulnerable population - children. The series has received six Emmy Awards, six Gracie Awards from the American Women in Radio-TV-Film (AWRT) and awards from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, (NCMEC). Learn more about "Protect Our Children" at


"Protect Our Children: Effects of the Pandemic" 2021

Prevention Links

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Treatment Referral Routing Service
800-662-HELP (4357) National 24/7 Helpline

Mental Health America
For Resources & Expert Advice

NYS Department Of Health Opioid Overdose Initiative

NYC WELL 24/7 Hotline
Text/Call/Chat to discuss stress, depression, anxiety or drug/alcohol abuse
888-692- 9355

Crisis Text Line
To text with a trained Crisis Counselor

Getting Out and Staying Out (GOSO)

The Safe Center, LI

24/7 Safe Center Hotline

To report child abuse
For Emergencies - Call 911
Call statewide NYS Central Register

National ChildHelp Child Abuse Hotline 24/7
800-4-A-CHILD (800-422-4453)

Stony Brook Children's Hospital
631-444-KIDS (5437)

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
888-333-AFSP (2377)
1-800-273-TALK (8255) Hotline

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
24 Hour Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

National Center For Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC)
800-THE LOST (843-5678)
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