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Georgia's Child Protection Officials Advocating Creation of Central Call Center for Receiving Child Abuse Reports
Recently two supervisors from Columbus area’s Division of Family and Children Services (DFSC) were arrested and charged with destroying, delaying or otherwise tampering with initial reports about a suspected child abuse case. This sparked off a debate in the area whether it would be better to have a call center receive reports about child abuse rather than delegating that task to each county office.
One of the Georgia's top child protection official suggested that reports about child abuse can be routed toward a central call center and away from a child welfare office to avoid incidences of destroying reports.
According to DFCS Director Ron Scroggy, officials at the Division of Family and Children Services had previously discussed the various aspects of receiving reports through a centralized call center, instead a county office performing the task.
Authorities at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said they were examining whether supervisors in the office systematically falsified information so it would appear they were meeting internal guidelines.
“We believe it would be in everyone's interest to move to a centralized, 24-hour intake system,” Scroggy said in an interview.
Scroggy also said that the document tampering did not any way harm the children and probe is on despite this grave offence.
According to Scroggy, the arrested officials have been suspended with pay from their state jobs. A specialized five-person team sent by DFCS continues with the investigation.
The division already operates a call center in Albany that handles after-hours reports of suspected child abuse for most of the state outside Atlanta. Division officials said that call center could be expanded on a trial basis to handle daytime calls for Columbus and other nearby offices. Scroggy estimated that effort would cost about $500,000 through June, but he emphasized the spending figure was preliminary.
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Edited by Brooke Neuman