Hotline

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.

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What are the elements of an effective hotline system?

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How should we handle hotline calls for our most vulnerable – infants and toddlers?

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How do some states hire, train, and retain their hotline intake screeners?

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Please explore the related resources below and at Questions from the field to learn more about hotlines.

Related Resources

This document provides key themes and lessons learned from five states on practices involving intake screeners in their child welfare systems.

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Hotline systems provide the first contact between the public and the child protection agency; this strategy brief outlines key elements.

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Hawaii employed various strategies to earn buy-in from staff and community stakeholders during its transition to a centralized hotline.

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This strategy brief outlines strategies for how CPS agencies can screen-in reports of infants and toddlers in a way that keeps them safe.

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Dr. Rhema Vaithiananthan and Erin Dalton provide an overview of predictive risk modeling and its applicability in child welfare to support decision-making at the hotline.

LEARN MORE

This strategy brief outlines how Arizona engaged in an intensive, multi-pronged strategy to reduce its investigation backlog.

LEARN MORE

This document provides key themes and lessons learned from five states on practices involving intake screeners in their child welfare systems.

READ STORY

Hotline systems provide the first contact between the public and the child protection agency; this strategy brief outlines key elements.

READ STORY

Hawaii employed various strategies to earn buy-in from staff and community stakeholders during its transition to a centralized hotline.

READ STORY

This strategy brief outlines strategies for how CPS agencies can screen-in reports of infants and toddlers in a way that keeps them safe.

READ STORY

Dr. Rhema Vaithiananthan and Erin Dalton provide an overview of predictive risk modeling and its applicability in child welfare to support decision-making at the hotline.

READ STORY

This strategy brief outlines how Arizona engaged in an intensive, multi-pronged strategy to reduce its investigation backlog.

READ STORY
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