KIDLINE now available 24 hours via phone & text; web chat also offered
Parents, victims of child abuse, those who suspect a child is being abused and others who reach out to KIDLINE, 1-800-CHILDREN, can now access a counselor 24 hours a day, as well as have the option to text or chat with a counselor online.
Previously available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., 1-800-CHILDREN is now answered around the clock by trained counselors. Texting is also available 24 hours at 225-424-1533, and web chat is offered from 2:30 to 8 p.m. at www.pcal.org/KIDLINE.
KIDLINE, a program of Prevent Child Abuse Louisiana, has been in operation for 20 years, but this is the first time the services have been expanded, according to PCA Louisiana Executive Director Amanda Brunson.
“We want parents in need of support or victims in distress to be able to access KIDLINE as easily as possible, which is why we’ve added these new capabilities,” said Brunson. “The goal is for a counselor to be there when needed, no matter how or when.”
Brunson also said that KIDLINE services are part of the agency’s mission to prevent child maltreatment before it begins.
“Child abuse prevention is making sure parents are supported and have the resources they need to adequately care for their children. KIDLINE offers that anonymously and confidentially, and is another way to ensure that Louisiana’s children have the best chance to grow up healthy and happy,” said Brunson.
A grant from the Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement made the new services possible. The grant money also pays for counselors from the Crisis Intervention Center to answer KIDLINE.
“KIDLINE aims to reach parents where they are, and providing online emotional support through the text and chat features reaffirms our commitment to helping those who may be more comfortable reaching out through a non-verbal modality,” said Aaron Blackledge, executive director of the Crisis Intervention Center.
In the weeks to come, Prevent Child Abuse Louisiana will launch a new website that will include a searchable database with local resources for those who need help but are unsure where to find it.
“There are a lot of wonderful agencies across the state providing services, but often families don’t know how to access them,” noted Brunson. “This database will allow a struggling family in Many to find a local food bank, or an adult survivor of abuse in Dulac to access mental health services. Again, we’re trying to meet the needs of the callers where they are.”
Citizens are encouraged to reach out to KIDLINE for confidential emotional support, information on child development, positive discipline tips, resources for child abuse victims, information on local community services or information on Louisiana’s Safe Haven Law, which allows an unwanted infant up to 60 days old to legally be relinquished at a designated Safe Haven facility.