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Decision Expected Today On Dept. Of Child Services Hotline

Last updated on Tuesday, November 27, 2012

(INDIANAPOLIS) - Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle agree that changes need to be made to the state’s current child abuse hotline, but they disagree on what those changes include.

Jessica Hayes, of WISH TV8 reports, at issue are complaints that people who call the Department of Child Services hotline have to wait too long, operators are unprofessional or cases are completely ignored.

Over the last few months, 40 recommendations have been made.

Republicans are pushing for a plan that would hire 50 new workers to take calls, provide additional training for existing operators and add a new hotline for "professionals," like doctors, social workers and police officers.

"We have a divided house here on this issue," State Sen. Travis Holdman (R-Markle) said. "We have a very high substantiation rate for those calls that are coming in. Those calls are what we consider good calls that we need to act upon."

Democrats are pushing for more local control. That could require hiring more than 1,000 new workers and cost more than $57 million per year, three times more than the Republican plan.

"We fix the system and then we worry about how to pay," State Rep. Vanessa Summers (D-Indianapolis) said. "In local communities they know how to take care of their local folks."

Another option is to have local police answer calls during off hours.

DCS says they have 74 intake specialists now who answer the 160,000 calls received each year.

They say the calls are answered in under two minutes and are being handled correctly.

A final decision is expected at Tuesday's meeting; the meeting begins at 1 p.m.

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