Kokua Line

Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Tuesday, March 9, 1999

Call child welfare line
to report abuse, neglect

I want to report child abuse but want to make sure I remain anonymous because of possible retaliation. The situation is getting out of hand and involves a child with a broken arm. I don't want to call police because I'm afraid they'll reveal my identity. Who else can I call?

If it's an emergency, you should call 911.

Otherwise, on Oahu, call 832-5300, the state Department of Human Services' Child Welfare Services' 24-hour reporting line for child abuse and neglect.

You can remain anonymous, but you need to provide specific information -- basically who, what, where, when, why -- said intake supervisor Johnny Papa.

(Papa said up to 60 percent of the calls to 832-5300 are not to report abuse or neglect but simply to get information. Those callers are asked to press the option for "information" rather than "reporting.")

People calling the reporting line often think workers can go out immediately to check a report and become angry when that doesn't happen, she said.

But Papa emphasized this is not a "hot line" and if there is any urgency, to call 911.

"If somebody is making a report, we will certainly try to stabilize the situation and (insure the) safety of the child, but we're not the first respondent on it," Papa said.

Attempts will be made to corroborate the information, such as with schools or through agency files, to see if there is a history of reported abuse.

"We encourage people to report," Papa said, because the family may already be under investigation. Your "little piece of information (may be) enough to make a case, put together with other pieces of information," she said.

As a complainant, you are entitled to know whether your report will be investigated and, if so, what the disposition of the case is, Papa said.

Currently, callers' identities are confidential. But Papa said the state Legislature this session is considering "removing the anonymity clause -- that people must provide their names to us."

Her department is fighting the change, fearing that it will discourage people like you from reporting possible cases of abuse.


Who can I call to report a sprinkler on Pualoa Road that floods the bushes every morning around 6 a.m.?

You didn't give a specific location so we suggest you call the Board of Water Supply's water waste hot line, 527-6126.


Drivers, slow down!

On Feb. 23, a beautiful long-hair Calico cat lay dead on the side of Manoa Road. She looked well cared for, obviously someone's beloved pet. Alongside her outstretched body was a single long-stemmed rose and a note that said, "To the owner of this beautiful creature, I am sorry." I am neither the owner or the driver who hit her, but I was deeply touched and saddened. Please, people, keep your pets inside. Indoor cats live longer, healthier lives. I, too, learned this lesson the hard way. I have five spoiled, healthy indoor cats. And, please, to all you drivers who speed at ridiculous speeds down Manoa Road and Oahu Avenue and similarly around other neighborhoods: SLOW DOWN! Sometimes accidents are unavoidable, but some are simply mindless careless actions of drivers who should know better. Next time, it could be someone's child or grandparent. -- Concerned Reader



To the person who notified Unocal of my missing credit card. I was not aware I had lost it until I received a letter from Unocal thanking me for notifying them. -- R.U.

Need help with problems? Call Kokua Line at 525-8686,
fax 525-6711, or write to P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu 96802.
Email to kokualine@starbulletin.com

E-mail to City Desk

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