Hotline decisions are the point of entry for involvement in the child welfare system and therefore impact the safety, permanency, and well-being of vulnerable children and their families. The decision on whether to move a case forward for investigation, assessment, or service referral is one of the most important functions of any child protection agency.
If a report is incorrectly screened in, the child and family are subjected to needless intrusions, including investigative interviews, potential court and law enforcement involvement, and even unnecessary child and family separation. Incorrect screen-in decisions also burden the workload of every unit in the system and divert resources away from families that truly need them. And when referrals are incorrectly screened out, opportunities to help children and families are lost, potentially resulting in ongoing harm to children.
By establishing effective hotline policies and protocols, child protection agencies are better able to ensure that the right families receive the right interventions at the right time.
Do reporting professionals overexpose marginalized families to more surveillance due to the dual nature of child welfare services?
Are there parallels between hiring and child protection processes that can help reduce bias and narrow child welfare’s front door?
Please explore the related resources below and at Questions from the field to learn more about hotlines.