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DHS rolls out new hotline number to report child, elder abuse

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Michigan’s Department of Human Services has introduced a more streamlined process for reporting child and elder abuse in the state.

It’s one of a series of child welfare improvements the state agreed to make when it settled a lawsuit with New York-based Children’s Rights group in 2008.

The agreement required DHS to create a statewide, 24-hour hotline that anyone in Michigan can call to report possible child or elder abuse.

Up until now, you had to call the specific hotline number in your county, and quality and response times varied.

Steve Yager is the deputy director responsible for children services at DHS. He says the new statewide hotline will "provide effective oversight to ensure timeliness," and will also ensure that every customer "from Marquette to Monroe...will receive the same quality services."

Yager says last year they received about 127,000 complaints of abuse or neglect, and investigated roughly 66% of them, around 84,000. Yager expects the new hotline will result in even more calls.

"Anytime you go out with a mass media campaign where we really have the opportunity to be talking about abuse and neglect and reporting, it’s going to draw people’s attention to it and we expect our call volume will increase."

The hotline number is 855-444-3911.

Jennifer is a reporter for Michigan Radio's State of Opportunity project, which looks at kids from low-income families and what it takes to get them ahead. She previously covered arts and culture for the station, and was one of the lead reporters on the award-winning education series Rebuilding Detroit Schools. Prior to working at Michigan Radio, Jennifer lived in New York where she was a producer at WFUV, an NPR station in the Bronx.
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