The Statewide Intake (SWI) program operates the Texas Abuse Hotline to accept and processes reports of:
- Child abuse and neglect.
- Child abuse in child-care or treatment centers
- Abuse, neglect, and exploitation of people who are elderly or have disabilities and are living at home.
- Abuse of adults and children who live in state facilities or are being helped by programs for people with mental illness or intellectual disabilities
2014 Accomplishments and Initiatives
In FY 2014, SWI became a stand-alone program that reports directly to the DFPS commissioner. Before that, it was a part of the DFPS Operations Division. SWI had more than 400 staff, including more than 300 intake specialists.
SWI Telework Initiative
SWI successfully implemented a telework initiative in FY 2014. With about 50% of all SWI staff teleworking full-time, SWI reached its telework goal one year ahead of the target date of January 1st 2015.
SWI started Phase I of the Telework Initiative in August 2012. This initiative is consistent with DFPS and HHSC Telework goals, strategies, and policies.
Benefits of expanding telework include:
- Managing workload better.
- The ability to continue to take calls and work if the system is down unexpectedly.
- Less need for office space.
- Saving employees money and giving them more flexibility.
In December 2013, DFPS replaced SWI’s computers and related telework equipment. The new equipment allows teleworkers to securely take calls at home, improving the Hotline’s ability to keep operating in the event of bad weather or other emergency that might keep intake workers from reaching the call center. SWI also benefited from new telework training and policy. As of June 2014, SWI had over 200 teleworkers.
Texas Youth and Runaway Hotline Media Campaign
SWI also operates the Texas Youth and Runaway Hotline. In April 2014, SWI added the ability to interact with youth through texting and online chat. SWI also ran a small media campaign using paid search, online banners, and mobile ads for smart phones and other mobile devices to increase awareness of hotline services, including new texting and chat services. In FY 2014, sixty-nine percent of the activity (page views) on Youth and Runway Hotline website happened during the 12-weeks of the ad campaign. The Youth and Runaway hotline also began using social media with a presence on Twitter and Facebook. SWI uses social media to spread awareness of issues and events connected to youth in crisis, promote chat and text services, and connect with potential local volunteers by promoting our volunteer opportunities. The hotline fielded 721 texts and chats in the five months of FY 2014 that those services were available.
- Award-winning online training for the public on reporting abuse, neglect, and exploitation of the elderly and people with disabilities.
- Collaborated with Child Advocacy Centers (CAC) of Texas on sharing law enforcement notices (of abuse/neglect) to enhance coordination between CPS, law enforcement, and CACs.
- Collaborated with law enforcement groups (CLEAT and TMPA) to improve communication.
- Hosted 29 tours of the Texas Abuse Hotline call center for 306 people, including representatives of the Austin American Statesman, KVUE TV, Texas A&M, and Office of the Attorney General.
- Began assessing birth matches in the Helping through Intervention and Prevention (HIP) program with CPS, PEI, and Texas Department of State Health Services.
State law requires anyone who believes a child or an adult who is 65 years or older or who has a disability is being abused, neglected, or financially exploited to report it. Statewide Intake’s primary job is to assess these reports and route them to the right local office.
Texas Abuse Hotline
Statewide Intake takes reports of abuse, neglect, and exploitation from across the state through its Texas Abuse Hotline (1-800-252-5400) and through a secure website (TxAbuseHotline.org). SWI operates aroundthe- clock every day of the year, including nights and holidays.
Statewide Intake also accepts reports of violations of child-care minimum standards, as well as reports of abuse in facilities operated by the state or community providers that serve adults and children with mental illness or intellectual disabilities. These facilities and providers are managed by the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) and the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS). People who suspect abuse in facilities may contact 1-800-647-7418 to report abuse, neglect or exploitation in these facilities and programs.
The Statewide Intake program assigns a priority to all reports that meet the legal definitions of abuse, neglect, or exploitation, based on the safety of the alleged victim. SWI forwards these reports to the appropriate program staff, which investigates and notifies law enforcement agencies in cases involving children.
Texas Youth and Runaway Hotline
The toll-free Texas Youth and Runaway Hotline provides 24-hour confidential crisis intervention, advocacy, and information and referrals to runaways, at risk youth, and concerned adults. Volunteers talk with callers who face a variety of problems including family conflict, abuse and neglect, truancy (don’t go to school), delinquency (youth crime), and youth who run away from home.
This hotline (800-989-6884) is available to youth, their families, school employees, youth-care workers, law enforcement agencies, and anyone in need of community services. Hotline staff and volunteers are available by telephone, online chat, and text. Learn more by visiting the Texas Youth and Runaway Hotline website at TexasYouth.org.