With statistics indicating that a majority of child abuse cases are reported from three area hospitals, Child Protective Services is moving into those facilities to allow for quicker investigations.
Almost all claims of abuse or neglect are called in to a toll-free phone number in Albany. They are processed with a call number and then passed through to local Child Protective Services offices in the counties. That CPS office has up to 24 hours to investigate.
Erie County Social Services Commissioner Carol Dankert-Maurer says the decision was made to put workers in the hospitals because of the volume of calls.
"In 2013, we received about 1,000 reports between the three hospitals, Women & Childrens, Sister's and Mercy. And, it made sense for us to reach out to the medical community and try to figure out how we could work together to partner and to strengthen our collaboration in terms of these investigations."
Mandated reports of neglect or abuse will still go through Albany but Dankert-Maurer says they will be handled more rapidly in those hospitals because there will be workers assigned as of Monday.
One worker will always be in Women and Children's while Mercy and Sisters' will share a worker. The commissioner says this will allow the veteran case workers to share their knowledge with medical personnel.