The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has launched a new phone service to help make reporting child abuse and neglect easier.
The previous system was 30 years old and no longer able to keep up with the more than 250,000 calls the department gets each year. Last year, over 60 percent of callers had to be called back due to the old system, instead of speaking directly to an expert on child abuse.
The calls caused delays in sending investigators into the field to help children and families.
"The hotline is the front door of the department, and that front door needs to be open every minute of every day of the year," DCFS Director Richard Calica said. "Replacing our old system is a smart investment that moves us one step closer to ensuring that every child in Illinois is as safe as possible."
The new system puts calls into a queue so they can be monitored in real time, includes dual computer monitors so workers can manage current and incoming calls simultaneously, allows for the recording of calls, gives callers updates on their hold times, and allows DCFS staff to study and evaluate calls.
If you suspect a child under the age of 18 is being abused or neglected, you can call the hotline at 1-800-25-ABUSE (1-800-252-2873). The lines are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
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