CPS Report Discovers Systemic Failures in the Agency

January 31, 2014

(Photo by Stina Sieg-KJZZ)
Charles Flanagan, leader of the CARE team, at a press conference in December 2013.

Systemic failures, that is what an investigation of Arizona’s Child Protective Services Agency found. The final report on CPS was released Friday by the independent commission looking at the agencies problems. The investigation was launched after the agency failed to investigate 6,500 cases of possible child abuse.

Charles Flanagan is the director of the newly created Division of Child Safety and Family Services. He said the report found CPS had problems with transparency, communication and training. Flanagan said one major problem was the computer system in the call center.

“So with the call center, which is commonly referred to as the hotline there are a couple of different issues. One the database is horrendous to work with. CHILDS is awful and it needs to be replaced," said Flanagan.

Flanagan said the system led to confusion about what calls were being investigated. He said the agency will start to implement changes immediately to begin the transition. Flanagan said there was no oversight for cases that were not investigated or NI’s.

“There was no internal check and balance. What they called check and balance in this part of the organization or quality assurance was anything but. It was the same people who ordered the NI’s were overseeing the NI’s,” said Flanagan.

Flanagan said a new system of checks and balances will be created where employees are held accountable. The new agency has been moved out of the Department of Economic Security and will report directly to the governor.