Arizona Department of Child Safety adds warning to child abuse hotline

Jul 28, 2015, 9:00 PM | Updated: 9:00 pm
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PHOENIX — The Arizona Department of Child Safety said it is hoping to reduce false claims with a new message on the department’s hotline.

DCS recently added a message to the Arizona Child Abuse Hotline to remind callers that making false allegations of abuse or neglect is a felony.

Department Spokesman Doug Nick said DCS has already seen an affect since it was added a few weeks ago.

“We’ve had a number of hang ups because of that,” he said.

In its latest semi-annual report, DCS reported receiving 25,508 calls between October 2014 and March 2015, but Nick said only about 14 percent of those calls are substantiated.

“That means a lot of calls are coming in that don’t have substance and you have to wonder what’s going on there,” he said.

Reducing the number of false allegations could help avoid wasted time and resources, Nick said.

“If somebody was to call for harassment purposes or because they’re angry at somebody, or whatever reason – if it’s a false allegation that just takes resources away from cases where a child is truly in danger,” he said.

Nick added that the goal of the message is not to deter callers or discourage those who do suspect actual abuse or neglect.

“We do want to know when there is a true allegation of abuse or neglect,” he said.

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Arizona Department of Child Safety adds warning to child abuse hotline