MACo Associate Director, Natasha Mehu, provided written testimony in opposition to House Bill 697, “Child Abuse and Neglect – Statewide Reporting – 2-1-1 Maryland,” to the House Health and Government Operations Committee on February 23, 2017.
HB 697 would shift the critical responsibility of answering calls concerning child abuse and neglect from local departments of social services to the statewide 2-1-1 system. While the concept of a statewide hotline is well intentioned, it has practical shortcomings.
From MACo testimony:
The child welfare system in Maryland is primarily managed locally by each Local Department of Social Services (LDSS). Screening of child abuse and neglect calls is one of their core functions. Each county has highly trained and specialized staff that respond to those calls. The localized system allows them to efficiently and effectively gather necessary information, assess the situation, and dispatch local resources. In cases of child abuse and neglect, every minute counts and LDSS are best trained and situated to respond to urgent concerns.
Follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2017 legislative session here.