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Help for the helpless

Help for the helpless

Local satellite office assists with abuse hotline

October 20th, 2018 by Lynn LaRowe in Texarkana News

The Rainbow Room at the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services is filled with toys, clothes, backpacks and food. The room is for families that need supplies. Department of Family and Protection Services hosted an open house for members of the community to see the facility and the services they can provide.

Photo by Hunt Mercier /Texarkana Gazette.

Texarkana is home to one of only two satellite offices for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services abuse and neglect hotline.

A division of DFPS, Statewide Intake, is the call center for all abuse and neglect calls in Texas. The main Statewide Intake office is in Austin, a satellite office operates in El Paso and, as of Sept. 1, a satellite office has operated in Texarkana next to the DFPS office located at 3103 Summerhill Road.

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The call staff at the satellite offices assist the call center in Austin. The sites chosen for satellite offices are connected to their power grids, Austin-based Program Administrator Sherrie Hardie said. Austin, El Paso and Texarkana are all hooked into different power grids. Should one office go down because of a storm, for example, the other offices can continue to provide services, ensuring that the 24/7 hotline operates without interruption.

Texarkana has six staff members and a supervisor answering abuse/neglect calls coming in from the state hotline.

"The goal is to have 36 to 40 staff permanently officed here in Texarkana," a DFPS press release states.

The purpose of the contact center is to help individuals report abuse, neglect and exploitation of elderly or disabled adults, assist in reports of the neglect, abuse or exploitation of children and assist in reports of abuse, neglect and exploitation of persons in state schools, state hospitals, state centers and community-based centers when staff in those facilities are alleged perpetrators.

The Summerhill Road DFPS office houses many other divisions of DFPS that provide services in the region. Representatives from the department's Conservatorship Unit, Investigative Unit, Family Group Decision Making, Child Protective Services and many others were present at an open house Friday at the Summerhill Road office.

For more information on services offered by DFPS, visit dfps.state.tx.us.

llarowe@texarkanagazette.com

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