Kentucky launches new Web site for reports of abused or neglected children

FRANKFORT — The Cabinet for Health and Family Services has launched a Web site that will allow people to report possible abuse and neglect of children and vulnerable adults.

The 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 thinks a child or a vulnerable adult is at an immediate risk of harm or injury, he or she still should call 911 or the abuse hot line at 1-877-597-2331. The online reporting system is for non-emergency situations.

The information provided online will be reviewed by 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 hot line, James said.

By spring, she said, she hopes to have the technology and staff to review the online reports 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.

"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 since July by professionals who frequently report abuse such as law enforcement, school officials, and child and adult caregivers. The cabinet was 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 hot line from those who frequently report abuse and neglect.

"We don't have the newest phone systems," she said. "We couldn't always handle the volume of calls."