By Beth Musgrave
FRANKFORT — The Cabinet for Health and Family Services has launched a new web site that will allow people to report possible abuse and neglect for children and vulnerable adults.
The new portal will allow people to report non-emergency situations to adult and child protection. Department for Community Based Services Commissioner Teresa James said that child and adult protection depend on the public to report abuse and neglect. The new web portal will provide another way for people to report abuse.
“We launched this web site so concerned members of the public can more easily report suspected abuse and neglect and so that child and adult welfare investigations and law enforcement officials can better do their jobs.” James said.
James said that if someone believes that a child or a vulnerable adult is at an immediate risk of harm or injury, they should still contact 911 or call the abuse hotline at (877)KY SAFE1. The online reporting system is only for non-emergency situations.
The information provided online will be reviewed by intake staff. During the first phase, the portal will be monitored from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Anyone reporting abuse after 4:30 p.m. should call the hotline, James said.
James said they are hoping by spring that they will have both the technology and staff to review the reports online 24-hours a day.
If the report is not accepted for investigation, the email user will receive a notification within 48 hours. Reports that are accepted for investigation will not receive a follow-up email message.
“Anyone who does not receive a follow-up email saying that it has not been accepted for investigation, should assume that it has been accepted,” James said.
The portal has been used by professionals who frequently report abuse such as law enforcement, school officials and child and adult caregivers since July. The cabinet was then able to tweak the portal to make it more user-friendly based on user feedback.
James said the idea came after hearing complaints about long wait times on the hotline from those who frequently report abuse and neglect.
“We don’t have the newest phone systems,” James said. “We couldn’t always handle the volume of calls.”
James talked to the cabinet’s technology office to try to figure out a way to make it easier for people to report abuse and neglect. They looked at two other states that have online reporting, Texas and Mississippi, and then developed Kentucky’s own online portal.
“We want it to be easy and we want it to be timely,” James said. “This was an incredible opportunity for us that costs us very little.”
The web site can be accessed here at https://prd.chfs.ky.gov/ReportAbuse/home.aspx,