An investigation prompted by Senator Carl Kruger into a security breach at the state’s child abuse hotline has resulted in a report by the inspector general calling for increased security measures to protect the identities of callers.
Kruger, who is chairman of the Senate’s Social Services, Children and Families Committee, commended both state Inspector General Joseph Fisch, who released the 33-page report yesterday, and the Office of Children and Family Services, which oversees the hotline, “for immediately recognizing the urgency of the problem and the need to assure that it never happens again.”
“The New York Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment, like the Hippocratic Oath, has an obligation to first do no harm,” Kruger said. “The inspector general’s report and OCFS’s commitment to correct a litany of security lapses will help maintain the hotline as an invaluable and lifesaving resource to help suspected victims of child abuse.”
Kruger called for the investigation after learning that a Verizon employee had mistakenly emailed a Long Island man accused of child abuse a list of 200 incoming calls to the child abuse hotline, violating the confidentiality of the callers. The Long Island man had originally contacted Kruger with the information. The child abuse accusations against the man were later determined to be unfounded.
The inspector general’s report uncovered other record-keeping security breaches at the statewide hotline, including the improper saving of cases that were supposed to be expunged, and the shredding of telephone records it was supposed to keep.
Kruger said that OCFS has already implemented the recommendations in the inspector general’s report.
“I am pleased that OCFS has responded immediately and appropriately to a situation that demanded prompt attention,” he said.