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State hotline increases neglect and child abuse reports

In 2015, the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) set up a Child Abuse hotline. The hotline, which is monitored 24 hours a day, every day, has seen an estimated 31 percent increase in calls since its launch. According to the department, over a million calls have been made through the hotline reporting neglect or child abuse over the past five years.

The department shared that reports taken from the hotline have incited investigations into the well-bring of 274,193 children. Welfare officials cite the phone number as an important tool for those looking to report concerns. The phone number is open to anyone in the state, and its goal is to make it easier for people who are not mandatory reporters to share concerns with officials.

Prior to the creation of the hotline, 2013 research found that 75 percent of tips came from mandatory reporters. Of the remaining reporters, 10 percent were members of the public and 15 percent were family members. CDHS launched the hotline as a way to combat what it saw as public uncertainty as to how to report abuse. The phone number was paired with a statewide campaign in 2015 to inform people how to report abuse and neglect to authorities.

This uptick in reports is largely positive news for CDHS, as it informs the agency of more potentially harmful situations than the previous systems. However, this increase in reports applies both to founded and unfounded claims of neglect and abuse, so some parents and guardians may find themselves in a legally challenging situation should an incorrect accusation be made. In these cases, it can help to speak with a Colorado lawyer to protect one's family and defend against allegations that may be unfounded.

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