Friday Five: State agency adapts to ensure child abuse resources remain in use during COVID-19
In this week’s Friday Five, Maximus is reading about child safety, digital identity verification and cybersecurity, telehealth, and the latest unemployment numbers.
In early spring, Illinois saw a sharp decline in people utilizing the child abuse reporting hotline, according to the Daily Herald. To combat the decline, the Department of Children and Families reached out to mandatory reporters like teachers and doctors to offer instructions about how to use the hotline, even when they were only viewing children remotely. Call volume has picked back up, but remains lower than last year. Schools, child welfare agencies, and other organizations are all working together to provide innovative solutions to ensure children are in safe environments.
The Improving Digital Identity Act of 2020 was introduced in the House last week. According to NextGov, if passed, the Act would create a taskforce to develop standard approaches for digital identity verification. In short, the goal of the standards is to help make it easier and safer for individuals to prove their identity online, while also preventing identity theft and fraud. It would also issue grants to states to assist in updating and developing identity verification systems.
After a huge increase in the use of telehealth services during the COVID-19 pandemic, a taskforce has released their findings and recommendations on lessons learned and the future of telehealth. Healthcare IT News reports the recommendations include continuing to collect data on telehealth patient safety, integrating minimum standards into the existing safety standards, researching innovative approaches to remote care, and lifting restrictions on originating sites, among others.
In this article, Marketwatch reports that the number of individuals filing unemployment claims fell to 860,000 in mid-September. This was the first decrease in five weeks. Seasonally adjusted state unemployment rates are at their lowest since April 4. While these numbers are positive, millions of individuals remain unemployed and experts are predicting a slow recovery due to continued effects of the pandemic.
The IOT Cybersecurity Improvement Act passed the House earlier this week and is now awaiting a Senate vote. According to Federal News Network, the bill would set minimum security standards for Internet of Things (IOT) devices connected to federal networks. IOT devices are already common, and legislators called them the ‘low-hanging fruit’ of cyber threats and say many of the vendors producing IOT devices are already building compatible devices and support the legislation.