DENVER — Concerned Coloradans called the state’s Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline almost 222,000 times in 2018, according to a new report from the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS).
December marked the end of the fourth year of the public awareness campaign, which is put on by the CDHS.
The 24/7 hotline — 1-844-CO-4-KIDS or 1-844-264-5437 — received a record of 221,969 calls in 2018, which is a 10,500 increase from 2017.
Thanks to the people who made the calls, social services agencies investigated the safety of more than 57,042 children in 2018. Of those children, 13,289 were experiencing abuse or neglect, according to CDHS.
In addition, 12,787 families received voluntary support from social services to help prevent abuse or neglect in the future.
Minna Castillo-Cohen, director of the Office of Children, Youth and Families at CDHS, said the growth in the number of calls is encouraging because it means more people understand their role in preventing abuse and neglect.
“Sadly, children in Colorado continue to experience abuse, and reporting can’t be the only way Colorado is working to help build communities that strengthen families and prevent child abuse,” she said.
Out-of-home placements for these children are sometimes necessary to protect them, but most children and teens who receive help through child welfare services are not removed from their homes.
Calls to the hotline are routed to the appropriate county, which are responsible for responding to the reports. As of Monday, 38 counties rely entirely on the hotline to screen their calls, according to CDHS.
“The fact that more than half of Colorado’s counties now believe strongly enough in the Hotline County Connection Center to trust them to screen all of their child abuse, neglect and child sex trafficking inquiries and reports represents a wonderful vote of confidence in our system,” Castillo-Cohen said. “Many of these counties are smaller in population and therefore have fewer staff members to cover large territories. Using the County Connection Center’s call screening process, resources and personnel are freed up to be boots on the ground in these counties, connecting directly with and supporting families in crisis.”
To learn more, visit www.co4kids.org. Call the hotline at 1-844-264-5437 if you suspect a case of child abuse or neglect. If a child is in immediate danger, call 911.