Child neglect tipsters call state hotline, but reach jewelry business instead
STANWOOD, Wash. - Whitney Blackburn and Travis Wilson of Stanwood said they were trying to report a case of child neglect to the Department of Social and Health Services, but reached a jewelry company instead.
It is completely unacceptable in my opinion, said Blackburn.
She said on Wednesday, July 17th they called the Everett DSHS office, and they were told to dial 866-829-2153.
Wilson said a woman answered the phone.
She was very confused at first because I started reporting stuff, and she was like, this is a jewelry shop, said Wilson.
Blackburn added, we called again, we double checked the number, and it took us to the jewelry shop again.
Cherie West works for the jewelry business, which she does not want named for privacy reasons. She said is it a local company that fills orders around the world, but over the last few years the business has received at least 30 calls about child abuse.
I'd say about every four months we have a run of calls for maybe a week or two weeks, said West. Our numbers are so completely different. The telephone lines are somehow crossing.
West said she has reported the phone mix-ups to DSHS three times.
I feel I have never gotten high up enough to get somebody to really take note, added West.
King 5 brought the issue to DSHS on Tuesday. Spokesperson Mindy Chambers said she was not ready to answer questions on camera because they are still looking into it.
Blackburn and Wilson said a fast fix to the phone issue is needed.
How many cases of child abuse and neglect have gone unreported because it has been taking someone to a jewelry shop, asked Blackburn.
DSHS said the recommended number to report child abuse and neglect is 1-866-END-HARM.
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