By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) — The secretary of the Department of Human Services says the agency has taken steps to reduce severe deficiencies with the state’s child abuse hotline outlined in report by the auditor general released today.

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale says an audit shows 42,000 calls to Pennsylvania’s ChildLine – the statewide child abuse call center – went unanswered in 2015.

“More important than the huge number of unanswered calls, any single one of those calls could have led to a life or death situation for child.”

The auditor general acknowledges that the volume of calls increased dramatically as the result of sweeping changes to the state’s Child Protective Services Law in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. But Human Services Secretary Ted Dallas says steps are being taken to get the situation under control.

“The calls on the ChildLine – when I got here it was 43-percent abandoned or deflected, which by any measure is completely unacceptable. That number has now come down to 12-percent, which is still unacceptable to us.”

Dallas believes his agency can reach a goal of reducing that number to four percent.