Glitch delayed hundreds of possible child abuse calls

- Hundreds of possible child abuse calls might have fallen through the cracks for several weeks due to a computer glitch at the Florida Department of Children and Families.

DCF spokesperson David Frady told FOX 13 a software update in February caused the glitch that impacted calls coming into the Florida Abuse Hotline and it went unnoticed for several weeks.

Frady said cases that became backlogged, however, were all "non-caregiver" cases, meaning they didn't  involve caregivers such as parents, guardians or teachers.

While most of the cases were delayed and handed over to law enforcement on April 28, 1,500 between April 5 and May 1 weren't sent to sheriffs' offices until May 3, including more than 200 in Tampa Bay spread between Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas Counties.

"We're going to work with DCF on that issue to find out what happened," said Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco, adding it would be a much bigger concern if these involved the most sensitive cases.

Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said all but two of the delayed cases his agency received had already been investigated.

"The absolute majority of them are coming full circle," Gualtieri said. "In other words, a deputy or  an officer went out and has already conducted the investigation but because they're mandatory  reporters had to pass it on to the state."

According to Detective Larry McKinnon, a spokesperson for the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said his agency received 113 reports, many of which were sent to municipal police departments.

McKinnon said, as was the case in Pinellas, Hillsborough deputies were had already looked into many of the tips.

"A minute delay is a minute too late," he said, "and so any time that you can have a delay obviously it's going to concern anyone. But we don't have any information that these calls that we received was any type of delay that was instrumental in causing some detrimental effect in an investigation."

Frady said the most sensitive cases are immediately called into law enforcement, so this would not  have affected those investigations.

The DCF is working with the software company to make sure this doesn't happen again.

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