OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS) has improved its response time to calls placed to the statewide Child Abuse & Neglect Hotline and the recurrence of long wait times is gradually dropping.
As part of the settlement of a class action civil rights lawsuit against OKDHS, the agency has implemented the Oklahoma Pinnacle Plan, the improvement plan for child welfare services. Along with agency restructuring and an increase in the number of child welfare workers, the settlement also includes efforts to provide quicker response times to child abuse calls to the hotline. In 2012, operators at the hotline answered 114,433 calls.
Data on incoming calls to the hotline was collected from April 30, 2012 to Dec. 2, 2012 and reviewed. The average time to answer an incoming call during this review period fluctuated from a low of 59 seconds to a high of six minutes and 23 seconds. Although improvement did occur during the review period, the goal is to respond to each call in less than three minutes.
The data from incoming calls to the hotline is routinely collected and analyzed to determine whether the cause of long wait times is a process issue, an understaffing issue, or an anomaly. A review of the longest wait times for calls helps determine the relationship between incoming calls and staff levels at a given time. This information is used to change work processes and reallocate personnel as needed.
To improve customer service and reduce wait times during peak hours of high volume calls, OKDHS created a new triage system that provides options to the caller. The caller can remain in queue, receive a return call when an operator is available, and/or submit their report electronically using a template. This template option is only available for professionals such as teachers or medical professionals.
The statewide Child Abuse & Neglect Hotline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-522-3511.