Oregon

Gov. Brown tours Oregon Child Abuse Hotline Center

The hotline center is expected to be fully staffed in April 2019

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) -- Currently, there are 15 child abuse hotlines across Oregon -- but come April 2019, all of those lines will be centralized into one at the Department of Human Services office in Portland.

Gov. Kate Brown toured the soon-to-be Oregon Child Abuse Hotline Center on Wednesday after she and the legislature mandated the hotline be centralized and better supervised.

Right now, the managers said the hotline is bare bones with roughly 25 people on staff, and is focusing on 5 of the 15 districts throughout the state. But in April of 2019, the statewide hotline will be fully operational 24/7, year-round with 160 employees and absorb the 10 other districts.

Brown said they're working to make sure children in foster care are safe by responsibly reducing case loads for case workers and working to recruit and retain foster parents.

"I think it will absolutely improve child safety throughout Oregon," Gov. Brown told KOIN 6 News.

Benefits of the central hotline
A focus on safety:
  • Improved training for screening staff through a robust screening academy
  • Better training for staff through a new curriculum
A focus on consistency:
  • Call center technology will capture teal time data
  • The ability to train, coach and provide information
  • Built in quality assurance and continuous improvement processes
  • Clearer roles and responsibilities
  • Reliable customer service
A focus on customer service:
  • Trained screeners and supervisors will be able to respond to child abuse reports 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year

The number one issue in reports has been statewide inconsistency and interpretation of Oregon law on what defines child abuse.

"And interpretation of those laws is very different and unique based on community influence and impact," Kristen Khamnonack, hotline manager, said.

With child abuse screeners and supervisors under one roof -- and with increased training -- officials hope to influence statewide consistency and coordinated response to Oregon's children and families.

Once the hotline is fully staffed and running in April, they'll release the new centralized child abuse hotline number.


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