Letters: Pa. much improved on child-abuse calls

ISSUE | CHILD ABUSE

Pa.'s call processing much improved

An audit of ChildLine, Pennsylvania's child-abuse hotline, detailed inadequate staffing and funding of the Department of Human Services to implement the 23 child-protective-services laws that went into effect on Dec. 31, 2014 ("Audit: Child-abuse calls unanswered," Wednesday). Within days of Gov. Wolf's administration taking office in January 2015, we reviewed ChildLine and promptly started to hire staff. The number of caseworkers and supervisors has increased from 48 to 78, a 62.5 percent increase.

By May 2015, case-processing time was reduced from 26 days to less than four days. We also have reduced the deflected- and abandoned-call rate from 43 percent in January 2015 to 12 percent in March 2016. We expect to reduce that rate to less than 4 percent.

By July, we will have enhanced technology that will allow us to track the purpose of all ChildLine calls. This will ensure that calls are processed accurately and efficiently.

DHS is requesting a $1.8 million increase for ChildLine operations. Hiring ChildLine staff remains a priority.

We have made significant progress in the last 15 months, but we still have much work to do. We will not stop until we are efficiently processing every call that comes in to ChildLine. If you have any questions or concerns, please visit www.keepkidssafe.pa.gov.

|Ted Dallas, secretary, Department of Human Services, Harrisburg, ra-secretaryoffice@pa.gov