Texas Hotline for Reporting Child, Elder Abuse Wins Praise But Could Use More Help

AUSTIN — One of the few bright spots in Texas' protective services bureaucracy may be a victim of its own success.The Texas Abuse Hotline, which gathers and evaluates the public's tips about suspected maltreatment of very vulnerable residents, has won awards in competitions among call centers and as a pioneer of online training for telecommuters.But while lawmakers have faced recurring crises at sister agencies Child Protective Services and Adult Protective Services in the past 12 years, they ignored this year's pleas by the Statewide Intake division for more call center operators.Statewide Intake, a division of the Department of Family and Protective Services, requested money to hire 44 "intake specialists" — in addition to more than 300 already on the state payroll.Each year, they process more than 820,000 calls, online reports, faxes, letters and text messages describing alleged abuse, neglect and financial exploitation of children and the elderly.The operation calls itself "the front door to the front line."  Continue reading...

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