San Diego County supervisors Tuesday voted 4-0 to establish a new multidisciplinary team that will provide secondary reviews to calls coming to the Child Welfare Services Hotline.

The goal is to improve outcomes by adding a safety net to catch cases that otherwise might slip through the cracks, according to Kimberly Giardina, Child Welfare Services director.

Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, who co-sponsored the proposal, said that between 2018-19, there were nearly 44,000 calls to the county child abuse hotline, with about half of those calls being filtered out. Of those filtered out, he said the new team will take a second look for potential red flags and help connect those families with resources.

“We can prevent future cases of child abuse,” Fletcher said. “This is one piece of a much-broader effort.”

Supervisor Greg Cox, the other proposal co-sponsor, credited the Child and Family Strengthening Advisory Board for working on the multidisciplinary team.

A multidisciplinary team approach stems from a report titled “Recommendations for Improving County of San Diego Child Welfare Services.” That report also proposes more caseworker training on safety procedures, providing access to licensed therapists, and ensuring that siblings in the child welfare system remain together.

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