PHOENIX – Childhelp applauds the U.S. Congress for including $2 million in funding to support a child abuse hotline in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 omnibus appropriations bill. Childhelp operates the National Child Abuse Hotline – 1-800-4-A-CHILD; text 1-800-422-4453; chat at childhelphotline.org – the only nationally recognized helpline devoted exclusively to child abuse and neglect.
Childhelp joins child welfare advocates from around the country in thanking Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Representatives Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Tom Cole (R-OK) for their consistent support for Hotline funding to prevent and intervene in cases of child abuse and neglect. The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline operates 24/7 via call, text and chat and is one of the only national hotlines primarily staffed by professional, degreed crisis counselors.
“The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline has been a trusted resource for children in crisis, families in need and concerned community members since 1982,” Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline Director Michelle Fingerman said. “We applaud Congress for addressing the immense need in our nation by supporting initiatives that are proven to help prevent abuse and create better outcomes for survivors.”
The funding follows four years of Congressional appropriations for a grant administered by the Administration on Children and Families (ACF) that expanded the Hotline’s national services to text and web chat. Though limited in scope to 13- to 24-year-olds, the $4 million grant allowed the Hotline to partner with Arizona State University-SIRC and Purdue University to research outcomes and best practices in text and chat.
The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline is one of the only major national hotlines to not have received year over year, long term government funding. The FY 2022 appropriation is the first federal funding for the Hotline not tied to the ACF grant. In 2021, 115,782 contacts were received by the hotline from children at risk for or experiencing abuse, adult survivors, distressed parents seeking help, concerned relatives, mandated reporters and other help seekers.
Last year, Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline Spokesman John Stamos released a public service announcement to call attention to this lifesaving resource and highlight the dire need victims of domestic violence have been facing throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Recent research published online in JAMA Pediatrics, authored by Dr. Robin Ortiz and team, highlights the role Childhelp played in the national public health response at the intersection of COVID-19 and child abuse. The study found a 13.75 percent increase in total number of Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline inquiries in 2020 compared to 2019.
About Childhelp: Founded by Sara O’Meara and Yvonne Fedderson in 1959, Childhelp has brought the light of hope and healing into the lives of more than 11 million children as a leading national nonprofit organization dedicated to helping abused, neglected and at-risk children. Childhelp’s programs and services include residential treatment services, children’s advocacy centers, therapeutic foster care, group homes, a national hotline, and child abuse prevention, education and training. For more information, visit www.childhelp.org and follow Childhelp at facebook.com/childhelp, instagram.com/childhelp and twitter.com/childhelp. For more information about the Childhelp Speak Up Be Safe program, please visit speakupbesafe.org or call 800-790-2445.