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

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

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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.

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

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Learn how several agencies successfully reduced backlogs that resulted from overdue child protective services investigations.

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.

LEARN MORE

Research indicates that differential response leads to improved family engagement and reduced entries into foster care. Browse resources.

LEARN MORE

This information packet provides an overview of the tools tribal child welfare agencies use to assess safety of the children in their care.

LEARN MORE

This brief examines the parallels that exist between strategies for hiring staff and decision-making processes in child protection.

LEARN MORE

The first in a series, this strategy brief explores how behavioral science offers insights into critical decision points in child welfare.

LEARN MORE

Behavioral science offers insights into the hotline, screening, and investigation and assessment decision points in child welfare.

LEARN MORE

Learn from a study that explores how mandatory reporting laws may discourage survivors of intimate partner violence from seeking support.

LEARN MORE

Learn findings from a study that examined the efficacy of Universal Mandatory Reporting policies in identifying victims of physical abuse.

LEARN MORE

Learn from a study that examines the relationship between previously reported sentinel injuries and later physical abuse in infants.

LEARN MORE

Learn the findings from a study that assessed how caseworkers’ perceptions of domestic violence and parental substance use influenced the decision-making.

LEARN MORE

Learn findings from a study that describes the relationship between police contact with families and the reporting of child maltreatment.

LEARN MORE

Learn from a study that explores how making reports to CPS may lead to over-surveillance and trauma for families.

LEARN MORE

When public health nurses accompany caseworkers on investigations, the results can be beneficial to child and family well-being.

LEARN MORE

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

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

Learn how several agencies successfully reduced backlogs that resulted from overdue child protective services investigations.

READ STORY

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

READ STORY

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

READ STORY

Research indicates that differential response leads to improved family engagement and reduced entries into foster care. Browse resources.

READ STORY

This information packet provides an overview of the tools tribal child welfare agencies use to assess safety of the children in their care.

READ STORY

This brief examines the parallels that exist between strategies for hiring staff and decision-making processes in child protection.

READ STORY

The first in a series, this strategy brief explores how behavioral science offers insights into critical decision points in child welfare.

READ STORY

Behavioral science offers insights into the hotline, screening, and investigation and assessment decision points in child welfare.

READ STORY

Learn from a study that explores how mandatory reporting laws may discourage survivors of intimate partner violence from seeking support.

READ STORY

Learn findings from a study that examined the efficacy of Universal Mandatory Reporting policies in identifying victims of physical abuse.

READ STORY

Learn from a study that examines the relationship between previously reported sentinel injuries and later physical abuse in infants.

READ STORY

Learn the findings from a study that assessed how caseworkers’ perceptions of domestic violence and parental substance use influenced the decision-making.

READ STORY

Learn findings from a study that describes the relationship between police contact with families and the reporting of child maltreatment.

READ STORY

Learn from a study that explores how making reports to CPS may lead to over-surveillance and trauma for families.

READ STORY

When public health nurses accompany caseworkers on investigations, the results can be beneficial to child and family well-being.

READ STORY
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