Apr 27, 2010 9:29 PM by News First 5

EPC has highest number of calls to child abuse hotline

Call after call - about 40 a day. 

"We take calls between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm from members of the community with concerns of child abuse or neglect," said Nikki Edmiston, supervisor of the DHS child abuse or neglect hotline.

"It's pretty steady, non-stop," she said. 

In 2009, they took just over 11,114 calls.  It's not a big increase over the last three years but it's the highest volume of calls in the state.  

"I can't attribute it to one particular thing," said Marian Percy, intake manager for child protective services at DHS.

Percy believes there are several reasons why it's so high:  El Paso County has a high population of children and poverty has increased.  "Anytime you see an increase in poverty, you're going to see an increase in child abuse," she said.

She says the boom at Fort Carson has contributed as well but only slightly.  "When we looked at the numbers it's actually increased from about 5 to 9 % of our entire referral base," she said.

Outreach has also been a priority, Percy said, and they've been good about spreading the word about their services.

Some answers but DHS wants more.   "I wish that I had the crystal ball to figure out how we could get the numbers to go down," she said.

When it comes to the actual number of child abuse and neglect cases, El Paso County is the fifth highest county in the state.

The hotline  -- 444-5755 -- is answered 24 hours a day.



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