Child Welfare Officials Release Plan For 6,000 Ignored Abuse Complaints

November 25, 2013

azdes.gov
Clarence H. Carter, Director of the Arizona Department of Economic Security

Department of Economic Security Director Clarence Carter has announced how Child Protective Services plans to clear a backlog of thousands of uninvestigated charges of child abuse.

Last week, Carter announced that more than 6,000 calls to the CPS hotline were improperly ignored. During a meeting of a legislative committee that oversees CPS, Carter said he would release a plan for reviewing the calls and for fixing the system by close of business Monday. It was sent to Gov. Jan Brewer’s office Monday evening, and wasn’t released publicly until late that night.

Carter’s plan sets a target date of January 31 for investigating all complaints that require a caseworker to follow up in person. It highlights more than 250 employees who could be temporarily reassigned to work on investigations. And it suggests that when feasible, CPS should get help checking on the child in question from what are known as mandatory reporters of abuse -- people like doctors, teachers, and clergy.

Meanwhile, state police investigators have started looking into why the 6,000 cases were ignored, a feat the agency says could take weeks.