Pennsylvania makes improvements to child abuse hotline

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The state Department of Human Services says it’s made several improvements to its child abuse hotline and the way it handles reports of abuse.

The changes announced Thursday come in the wake of an audit that found 42,000 calls to ChildLine last year went unanswered or were dropped, and a third of all calls that were answered were not properly documented or tracked.

Human Services Secretary Ted Dallas said his department addressed the issues by adding staff, improving training, and making technology changes that properly record all calls and make it easier for staff to process calls.

Dallas said abuse history clearances are now processed in an average in 1.6 days, compared to 26 days in 2015, and 100 percent of clearances are processed on time, compared to 48 percent last year. He said the rate of abandoned or deflected calls to ChildLine is down to two percent, instead of 43 percent in 2015.

Dallas said the problems arose in January 2015 when 24 new bills that amended the child protection law went into effect. He said Human Services was inundated with calls and clearance applications that it wasn’t adequately staffed or funded to handle.

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