Illinois announces upgrade to child abuse hotline


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) -- Illinois' child welfare agency has launched a new computerized child abuse hotline in response to complaints its old system was failing to handle the volume of calls.


The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services announced the new $474,000 system Wednesday.


The department received more than 250,000 calls last year, but a majority of the callers didn't immediately reach a child abuse expert and had to be called back.


The department's new director, Richard Calica (KAHL'-ih-kuh), says the hotline's problems meant unacceptable delays in sending investigators out into the field and getting help to children and families. Calica says replacing the old hotline is a smart investment.


The hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The toll-free number is 1-800-25-ABUSE (1-800-252-2873).

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