Roughly 230 cases in Tampa Bay alone were overlooked following a software glitch in the Department of Children and Families. Hundreds of reports and nearly 1,500 tips to the Florida abuse Hotline were not sent to the proper law enforcement authorities between February and April because of the malfunction.

DCF backlog

Reports of abuse or neglect by parents were not affected. These allegations were handled by child welfare investigators.

But the hotline tips for abuse from people like neighbors, teachers, or strangers were backlogged in the system. Luckily, many of those abuse hotline operators transferred the tips to 911, so that the proper authorities could be notified of abuse. The DCF says that some of the cases might have still been under investigation when those tips were going through.

The backlog was resolved May 3 and after that time, some reports were handed to the authorities.

Some agencies who have received some of the abuse tips are wading through them to see if any investigations should be considered for some of the hotline tips.

Half of the reports that were backlogged came from special situations like sexual abuse between children or the parent of a child. Those calls and tips were delayed to the same welfare investigators who are wading through the same hotline tips that were taken out of the backlog after May 3.

Abuse cases

A software update on Feb. 4 caused the hotline to malfunction and the glitch in the hotline system was not discovered until Apr. 28. May 3, the backlog was cleared and the reports were sent to local sheriff’s office in their respected counties.

DCF spokeswoman Jessica Sims released a statement to the press following the discovery of the backlog that occurred between the months of Feb. and Apr.

and was not cleared until May, says that the department is working with its software vendor to create an alert system so that the department is notified of another backlog if a glitch in updating software occurs in the future. They are working with local sheriff’s offices to pursue any tips that need investigating to keep to their commitment of protecting children and vulnerable adults from abuse or neglect.

Of the 1,500 reports that came through the system, 113 were from Hillsborough County, 32 were from Pasco, and 70 were from Pinellas County according to DCF’s statement to Tampa Bay Times. Pasco sheriff’s office disputed the claim that they only got 32 cases, and were given more than 100 delayed reports.

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