Child At Risk Hotline
Working under the auspices of the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (formerly Massachusetts Department of Social Services (DSS)) since July 1982, Judge Baker Children's Center directs the Child At-Risk Hotline, a statewide after-hours emergency response system. Each year, Judge Baker's highly trained staff responds to more than 170,000 requests for crisis intervention, information, or referrals.
A 30-member staff is trained to assess the urgency of each call, elicit critical information, and provide a sympathetic ear. In situations where children are at imminent risk, an emergency response is initiated, with DCF field staff launching the investigations.
The Hotline operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with DCF Area offices fielding calls weekdays from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Judge Baker covering evenings and weekends. In January 1998, the Hotline expanded its reach, and now provides coverage for the entire state. The Hotline is part of the DCF automated FAMILYNET system, a comprehensive database that has improved access to and transmission of information.
To report a possible child at-risk situation in the state of Massachusetts call 1-800-792-5200.
“All Child Protective Service activities begin with the first phone call either from someone who volunteers to take the time to express concern for a child’s well-being and safety or from some person obligated to report incidences of neglect and abuses of children The reliance on these callers for case-finding necessitates that we regard all phone callers as potential partners and resources for CPS instead of mere “reporters”.
Insoo Kim Berg & Susan Kelly
Building Solutions in Child Protective Services