Indiana News

Legislators Continue to Weigh Future of DCS Abuse Hotline

10/11/2012

A national child-welfare expert suggests Indiana's Department of Child Services shouldn't be too quick to abandon its controversial central hotline for abuse and neglect cases.

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A legislative study committee has been reviewing what both parties acknowledge has been a problem-plagued switch from county-based hotlines -- there have been complaints about delays while calls got routed to Indianapolis and back. David Sanders, executive vice president of Seattle-based Casey Family Programs, says 28 other states have centralized intake systems. He told the panel a central call center tends to produce initial resistance, but leads to more consistent responses and fewer abandoned calls.

Republicans have suggested a two-track system, with local hotlines for judges, prosecutors and other professionals, while calls from the general public go to a central intake center. Democrats are calling for a return to local hotlines.

The committee is expected to make its nonbinding recommendations next month.

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