When a call is made to the child abuse hotline, the hotline operator must decide if there is enough information available to take the report. The hotline operator will gather information from the caller including whether he/she is a mandated reporter as well as if the caller wishes to identify him/herself or report anonymously.
The hotline operator will then ask for information about the alleged child maltreatment. The caller should provide as much specific and pertinent information as possible regarding the concerns, the child’s name, the alleged offender name and address, and any available contact information for the family. If there are others who may have knowledge of the alleged maltreatment, the caller should provide this to the operator as well. The more information the caller gives the better.
The hotline operator will then decide, based on the information provided, whether the call can be accepted for an investigation. If the call is accepted, the report will be sent either to the Division of Children Family Services or the Arkansas State Police (Crimes Against Children Division) to investigate depending on the severity of the concerns. An investigator will visit with the family to discuss the allegations and ensure the safety of every child in the family. If the child cannot safely remain in the home, removal may be necessary for the health and safety of the child. If the child can safely remain in the home, the investigator will assess the needs of the family and begin to put in place services and supports for the family while the investigation is ongoing.
The investigation is typically completed within 30-45 days. Based on the findings of the investigation, the family may be done with involvement from DCFS, or a case may open to offer the family continued support and services to work on safely caring for the child.
Answered by Advocate Supervisor Kayla Tave