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Washington state makes it easier to talk.

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- It is now easier these days for non-English-speaking callers to call the Washington state Department of Social and Health Services' toll-free number to report suspected abuse or neglect of children or vulnerable adults.

Since last October, DSHS has been using toll free 1-866-EndHarm (1-866-363-4276) for such reporting. According to Dave Workman, DSHS director of communications and strategic partnerships, the new process for taking calls on the EndHarm hotline creates an improved interface with a language translation service. As a result, it is easier for DSHS to speak with callers using any of some 150 languages spoken in the state.

In October 2004, DSHS announced that it has upgraded the TTY accessibility of its hotlines for reporting abuse or neglect of a child or vulnerable adult, thus making it easier for people with hearing loss or speech disabilities to report suspected abuse or neglect.

With the help of the state Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, DSHS Child Protective Services, Adult Protective Services, and Residential Care Services have been upgrading and replacing text-telephone devices (TTYs) for people who have hearing loss or speech disabilities. DSHS also has updated its training for staff who respond to TTY calls.

DSHS toll free 1-866 EndHarm was established in 2001 to make it easier for family, friends, neighbors, and other community members to report suspected abuse of children or vulnerable adults. Calls to EndHarm are directed to the correct adult protective service or child protective service office anywhere in Washington.

In fiscal year 2003, DSHS received more than 12,500 reports of adult abuse or neglect in community settings, resulting in nearly 10,000 investigations. In the same year, DSHS investigated 38,000 reports of child abuse or neglect involving more than 56,000 children statewide.
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Title Annotation:state and local news
Publication:Policy & Practice
Date:Jun 1, 2005
Words:295
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