MOUNT VERNON — Once screeners decide to move a report of child abuse or neglect through to an intake specialist with the Knox County Children Services, the gears start to turn and the clock starts ticking.
In an emergency situation, the social worker has one hour to respond. Typically these are referrals from law enforcement or the hospital.
“Oftentimes, you don’t have a full printout of the report with all the details,” said Michell Reich, intake supervisor. “You get some names and an address, some clues on the fly and you are going. It’s usually because law enforcement is out there waiting on you.”
Non-emergency cases require the intake worker to make contact with the alleged child victim within 24 hours to make sure they are safe.
“That could be through a collateral call to someone who can guarantee the safety of that child until you can get out there,” said Reich. “If you can’t get a successful collateral call, you really have to go knocking on the door. We usually just go anyway.”