CPS Crisis: Group says system failure left kids in danger - KMSP-TV

CPS Crisis: Group says system failure left kids in danger

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PHOENIX -

Thousands of reports of child abuse that were never investigated has left Child Protective Services scrambling this week.

Late Monday night, Arizona's Department of Economic Security submitted its review of some of the CPS cases.  The report shows much needs to be done to turn the agency around and protect the lives of Arizona children in danger.

The pamphlet put out by CPS urges you to call if you suspect abuse -- "report it now" it says.

We now know that of the 6,110 cases that were never investigated by CPS, 5,000 of them were calls that came in to the child abuse hotline.  Most of them coming in over the last 20 months. Somebody thought a child was at risk, they called to report it, and nobody at CPS ever saw it.

"It's all alarming.. I think what is most alarming is that the system failed kids in such a large, gaping way," said Dana Wolfe Naimark of Children's Action Alliance.

Wolfe-Naimark reacted to the review CPS released Monday night of thousands of reports of abuse or neglect that came into the state's child abuse hotline.

"It's horrifying to think about it.. also to think that somebody called for help and no help came.. I mean it's chilling to think about that," she said.

The CPS plan reveals what the agency discovered while reviewing roughly half of the 6,000 cases that had been somehow overlooked and never investigated by the agency.

Within those cases, they discovered 10 needed an immediate response.  In 125 cases, subsequent reports of abuse of the same child had come in.   Roughly 1,800 cases will require a full investigation.

"A system failure was leaving kids in danger and not knowing as Director Carter said last week, we don't know how many kids are in harms way.. those are not words you want to hear from the director of the Child Protective Services agency," said Wolfe-Naimark.

She believes the plan to address the crisis is a good start but still believes DES head Clarence Carter should resign.

"We've urged the governor to ask for his resignation.. this happened under his watch, his leadership... so we believe he should be held accountable."

We reached out to Clarence Carter of D.E.S. on Tuesday.  They declined an interview, saying he is focused solely on the case review.

Reviews of all 6,100 cases should be finished by the end of January, according to the plan.

There's a lot that needs to be done, including making sure that the cases that keep coming in get the attention they need.  Not to mention what happened.  How did 6,000 reports of abuse end up not being investigated? DPS is conducting a separate investigation of that.

Take a look at the D.E.S. work plan here: www.myfoxphoenix.com/link/670599/des-work-plan

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