CLEVELAND, Ohio — Thousands of reports of child abuse and neglect are not being investigated by the Cuyahoga County child-welfare department now that the agency is screening out a substantial number of complaints to the 696-KIDS hot line.
Director Deborah Forkas instituted call-screening guidelines as one of her first big moves after taking over the Department of Children and Family Services in 2009. The decision meant that many calls that would have been investigated are rejected, including those from police and counselors, if callers don’t provide enough direct evidence that children are in danger.
The policy has child-welfare advocates in an uproar. And, it’s among a number of concerns that have surfaced about the county’s child protection services, amid a string of cases in which children died or were endangered.