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Dialing for Help: State Telephone Hotlines as Vital Resources for Parents of Young Children

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Toll-free telephone hotlines operated by the states are increasingly being used by families to obtain reliable advice on their young children's health and well-being. Originally created for prenatal-care assistance alone, these lines now cover a wide range of early-childhood issues. But while the majority of the lines deliver high-quality information, promptly and empathetically, to their callers, there is still considerable room for improvement. For example, greater use could be made of experts in early-childhood services, and of knowledgeable parents, for speaking with callers and training other staff. The lines could also be made more easily accessible in several ways: through the national 800 number for childhood issues, via the more general 2-1-1 number for community-based services, and by means of a Web site for each line so that it could serve its audience at virtually any time of the day or night.

Publication Details

Publication Date: November 1, 2004
Citation:

Dialing for Help: State Telephone Hotlines as Vital Resources for Parents of Young Children, Meg Booth, M.P.H., Treeby Brown, M.P.P., and Malia Richmond-Crum, The Commonwealth Fund, November 2004

Experts

Project Director, Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs
Policy Analyst, Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs
Private Consultant, Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs