Child Protective Services Failed to Investigate Thousands of Allegations

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Robert Huffstutter via Flickr


Thousands of allegations of child abuse phoned into Child Protective Services were not investigated.

Department of Economic Security Director Clarence Carter, whose department includes CPS, disclosed the fact Thursday morning.

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ACTV
Clarence Carter
About 6,000 allegations dating back to 2009 weren't investigated because CPS staffer(s) classified the calls in such a way that they wouldn't be investigated. It's unclear how that happened at this point.

Coincidentally, Carter is scheduled to be at the Legislature's CPS Oversight Committee meeting this afternoon, in a hearing that starts at 2:30 p.m.

(Click here to watch that hearing live, it's in Senate Hearing Room 1.)

Meanwhile, Governor Jan Brewer issued a statement saying she doesn't "want to see the lights off at CPS" until each of these allegations is investigated.

Stay tuned for updates.

UPDATE 4:13 p.m.: Carter told the CPS Oversight Committee Thursday afternoon that the allegations were made over the hotline, then someone coded the cases "Not Investigated," or "NI," and were never passed on to investigators. Nearly half of those allegations were made this year.

"There are 6,000 cases where we are not sure whether or not children are in harm's way," he said.

Office of Child Welfare Investigations Chief Detective Gregory McKay explained that the first indication something was wrong was discovered in August, when a cop asked a CPS investigator to check the status of a report made in December 2012, involving an allegation that a teenager was sexually abusing an elementary school-aged sibling. The case was marked "NI," so the case was never even given to an investigator. A chain of events led to CPS finding the 6,000 cases marked "NI."

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ACTV
Greg McKay
Both Carter and McKay said they don't know the source of the problem right now, and the Department of Public Safety is supposed to do an administrative review. They apparently have tracked it to CPS' so-called "SWAT" unit, which is supposed to review cases and send them to investigators, or close them. Republican State Senator Nancy Barto pointed out that these "SWAT" members are supposed to be more experienced CPS employees.

Carter said he brought the issue straight to Governor Brewer once he found out and said he'd never seen her that heated. He quoted her as instructing him not to "cover any of this up." (FYI, if that's a directive that needed to be given, we have bigger problems here.)

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, who's also on the panel, stressed several times that each and every one of these cases, by law, is supposed to be investigated. He asked why there even was an ability to mark cases as "NI," and there's no explanation at this point.

Over the weekend, CPS looked at the "NI" files from allegations made this year, and Carter said 10 of those cases were found to require "immediate attention," so someone had to investigate the case that instant.

The CPS officials don't know how many children are actually involved in these 6,000 cases at this point, as reports regarding the same child could have been made several times, and reports could have been made about a parent allegedly abusing multiple children.

On the next page, you can see a CPS brochure for the "hotline," which explains how that system works.


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33 comments
touch_of_an_angel200
touch_of_an_angel200

I have had a front row seat in to CPS neglect.. I and my gran kids doctor turn there mother in for starvation and neglect 14 other people have turned it in and there has been 8 other non investigated calls.. i could not get them to take action and so i went for guardianship and 11 day before she was going to lose the kids permanently Some one cps told her if they take the kids there court takes president over guardianship court so she shoved a rock down the 6 years old throat and the SVU investigator her friend accused me of cramming the rock up her butt to set the mother up so they took the kids put them in foster care no physical exam was done and he just happen forget his recorder when inter viewing me and the other grandmother well another officer took written statement and the kids had a lawyer and he wouldn't even talk to there lawyer  and also chose not to interview the kids and 48 hours later when we went to court the story was she handed my granddaughter a rock and said swallow it. The kids lawyer wasnt allowed in the court room and i wasnt allowed only the manipulating cryi at the drop of a dime mother and her girlfriends at cps the dad was in another dcourtroom not allowed to defend himself or even here what the mother was using for an excuse/.. i have turned in  videos and recordings of the abuse and the kids have pleaded for help and now we are on the third year she has lost 6 jobs and been homeless bouncing from bed to bed and guy to guy for drugs dragging those kids and cps all they can say is where trying to help her . oh so let her keep the kids and abuse them the eldest 6 yr old has described how mommy chokes her and makes her pass out and how mommy locks her outside in the dark in an area that has 7 sex offenders for neighbors. I called the cops to file a report so they could talk to the 6 year old and they wouldn't even send an officer out. it took CPS 6 weeks to talk to the child and by then mommy new about the video taped story and told the 6 year old you cant tell them or mommy would go to jail the last i seen them was when i took them to the hospital because the 6 year old told about mommy shoving the rock and it took them almost three years to take them they were in foster care and safe for a week then she got them back...she is now homeless and jobless again and no one knows where. and those poor baby's are so mentally mess up that duck and flinch when you walk pass them and for fear of being hit .. but CPS after 3 years are so called helping her and wont let them come home where they want to be they know my home as a safe home..but that girl has cps convinced i was the one beating them.. i proved to a judge she was unfit 9 people even her friend testified to the abuse they witness even her smacking the 3 year old in the mouth making her spit out the food she had snuc cause she was hungry..how do you protect them...

eileeng46
eileeng46

I am totally familiar with the process and the players.  It is my belief that nothing will change until the administration at CPS changes. The workers and supervisors did not come up with this plan to not investigate Hotline cases.  This was done by upper management and there was no computer glitch that lost these cases.  They were probably spufied out of the system and hidden in the databank so they would not show up on a print out.  I proposed a system using a version of artificial intelligence that would code incoming hotline calls and alert the workers of past abuse and call for a higher priority of investigations.  I was laughed at and voted down by the administration.  The Hotline coding was redone in early 2009 and caused the hotline to have to enter far more data to even assign a call.  This was done earlier with the investigations where the computer took control and each worker was caused to write a book on the investigation which caused more time to enter on the computer than actually do the investigation.  I think the cases were pushed into alternative investigations and then hidden in the system for 4 years so that the Hotline would look good.  This would not have happened under the previous hotline chief but the replacement is controlled by the administration.  This does not come as a shock as if anyone voices any outrage they will be attacked and their life will be made miserable. I retired to get away from the politics and corruption.

measson
measson

I have not worked for CPS, but have worked with those who do, on oversight teams for children placed in foster care and those who are receiving services in the mental/behavioral health system. The CPS workers on the support teams of which I have been a part, are easy to identify among the Foster parents, teachers, social workers, therapists, various law enforcement personnel, advocates, legal guardians, biological family members, etc. They are most often those individuals who are overwhelmed and exhausted and arrive late and must leave early, as a result of onerous work loads and Herculean obligations they face on a daily basis. It is difficult to speak up and challenge the status quo and work place/career issues that so many work so hard to 'normalize' rather than to address and rectify. One large problem with so much "team work" in agencies, is the "group think" that so often results. Perhaps too much emphasis is placed on consensus and too little on problem solving and rectifying untenable situations. 


Imagine rarely coming to the end of a work day feeling that you have done your best and can go home to some semblance of a personal life. The lack of adequate funding and absurdly large case loads creates nothing short of a tragedy waiting to happen. The inevitable burnout creates a revolving door through which staff enter hopeful and dedicated, and exit feeling unappreciated and resigned. For many who remain, the very concept of a personal life becomes oxymoronic. It is not fair or accurate to characterize most CPS workers as unprofessional or apathetic, or unethical. Most are hard working and dedicated to improving the lives of children and families. However, with little support in the way of resources to provide better than sub-standard work environments and pay that reflects the resilience and training their work demands, and the cutbacks in budgets and adequate staff with appropriate professional training, the real shock is not that perhaps as many as three thousand cases have been left to languish, but that the denial or negligence that created this sad reality did not fully surface far, far sooner than it has. There has long existed a well known work place culture of Sisyphean overload and the 'little guys' (who often register their dismay or alarm with their feet) are not those who should take the heat for having been unable to come up for air long enough to blow the proverbial whistle. It is those in positions as supervisors and managers and directors who should and must be called to account for and to rectify a heart breaking debacle indicative of more than a little negligence.


The Governor need not hire a posse of pundits to form a huddle to determine what went wrong when she could ask a couple of case managers and a few of the children in the system who have personally experienced  the ever-changing guard of CPS staff and the resultant stress and instability of that havocon their lives- lives already hanging in the balance. Of course, ethical, professionally competent, and mindful individuals are necessary to assist in righting this shameful wrong, but how in the world did this mess fly under the radar for so long? So- put together a 'task force,' ask some hard questions, but please, let us all keep an eye on the real and more paramount task -- caring for families and children and responding to their significant needs in a far more timely and humane manner. It is not just the cases not investigated, but also the degree of consistency and efficacy of the care for those families and children whose cases were investigated.  We can't forget that many of those 'lucky ones' to have been identified and provided services have also suffered for lack of better, more comprehensive, educational, preventative, and empathic care. We who have chosen Arizona as a place to live and work and to better through our considerable contributions, deserve more than to be associated with the red face-making "breaking news" our 'leaders' seem unable to stop generating as fodder for the rest of the nation to try to fathom over morning coffee. "It takes a village," indeed.  More village. Fewer idiots. 

There are some dedicated people who deserve better and need our support- and there are some in whom we simply must not any longer put our trust.  

BelieveItNow
BelieveItNow

One has to work at DES/CPS to fully understand what goes on.  There are horror stories galore.  Purged documents/cases go into a dumpster.  Temp workers are hired, however all they do is text and talk on the phone.  It always looks like they are doing nothing.  Only a few of the staff really, really work.  Finally, workers either have to bite the bullet or walk out.  It is a mental game they play.

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

I'll bet we'll find that somebody hired in the past year to work the Hotline thought that "NI" meant that the case had not yet been investigated, which actually seems like what it should mean.   Why should a new report ever be able to be set into a state that would prevent investigation.

DNichols
DNichols

This is Arizona Folks.

Why are people now shocked that C.P.S. is following the lead of Arpaio's M.C.S.O?!

Even sick disgusting Pedifile's that Molest thier own daughter like Arpaio, and Bill Montgomery's common B.F.F. Chris Simcox are granted "Amnesty/Plea Deals" for thier Heinous CRIMES against Chilkdren!

Arizona's "Law Enforcement" for Children is a travesty, and many like Arpaio should be in Jail for neglecting both our Children, and thier Jobs!!

Since 2008 Arpaio, his flunkies (Thomas/Mongomery), and Wonderful Governor Brewer have only been concerned with Racism towards Hispanic's, and the Federal Dollars involved..

To: Justice for all?!

shef01
shef01

Bone chilling. 

dorumillre
dorumillre

Find successful or attractive men, women for friendship, fun, love and romance. Try___richfriends.com___the largest club for elite singles and people who'd like to meet them. Give it a shot and good luck! ^_^

WhoKnows
WhoKnows topcommenter

I know of one case where, on vacation in another state, a HS age girl told her aunt about abuse she was getting from her dad, and the aunt talked to the girl's two adult sisters that confirmed the events.  The case went to court in the other state, and the judge ruled it had to be heard in AZ, and not in that state, as AZ was where the family lived. (this all happened within a week or so - it was FAST)  The mom is scared, as she's not sure to back the husband or the kids, and KNOWS CPS SHOULD be involved, as the other state said they would pass on the case, and in 4 months, no one has paid a visit to anyone.  CPS in this state sucks.

GregoryN
GregoryN

Employees of CPS are told to classify their calls to lessen their caseloads.  These instructions come from the supervisors and managers.  What happened with Brewer who hired a $160,000 investigator so calls could be classified on their importance?  Why not ask employees what is wrong with the system.  Most employees won't stay more than 6 months and others are treated worse than the children treated by their parents.  It has gotten so bad that employees walk out.  Incompetent employees are promoted to supervisor faster than one can say CPS.  These employees do not have the education necessary to carry out their duties fairly, but they have kissed up to get more money.  Absentees are on Friday and Mondays.  Ever wonder why?  There are mass hires and these employees only stay less than a year if one can take it.   Come on Brewer, let's be fair to these children and the good employees who are dedicated.  Stop the mass turnover of caseworkers and support staff.

eric.nelson745
eric.nelson745 topcommenter

These revelations are shocking but not surprising. It is a fact that Child Protective Services is way underfunded and understaffed. But should that whopping number of cases have gone uninvestigated? Absolutely not. Heads will roll, but they won't all be CPS caseworkers. Screwups of this magnitude always begin at the top.

danzigsdaddy
danzigsdaddy topcommenter

damn right nobody should be going home till they get answers and then they should be going home unemployed. to bad Jan never took the same stance with the other agencies that have neglected cases (MCSO, PPD, Pinal, etc etc etc) why is it suddenly a concern for her but never was in the past? is she trying to get people to root for her when she tries to run for her unconstitutional 3rd term?

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

WTF is it with Arizona that things just don't get investigated?? Why can't our elected officials and the people who work in our govt. agencies do what they are getting paid to do?

Oh.. wait... red state... 

nevermind

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@DNichols  

Whenever there's any sort of problem, let's just blame everybody you hate.

Sure.  That's constructive.

 

eric.nelson745
eric.nelson745 topcommenter

@danzigsdaddy When I said in my post above that screwups of this magnitude always begin at the top, I included Jan in that hierarchy. Yeah, she needs to burn along with the rest of them. But don't stop there. Look at legislators who wouldn't fund the agencies adequately.

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

@danzigsdaddy 

That is EXACTLY what a lot of Jans about faces lately have been, nothing more than political pandering to the masses

Hock
Hock

Don't you know...funding things like education, health care or public safety is SOCIALISM!!!!

WhoKnows
WhoKnows topcommenter

@yourproductsucks2 "Yip,yip, yip!"  Now you're ankle biting about abused kids in this story.  What a "guy".

danzigsdaddy
danzigsdaddy topcommenter

@eric.nelson745 i agree.  if any agency anywhere fails to investigate even 1 case involving a child or a childs welfare it bothers me. some of those cases may be false claims, but they still need to be checked out, uninvestigated is an unacceptable answer 

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@Hock 

You're unclear on the concept.  Public health, Public education, and Public safety provided by the State and Local government are not considered Socialism.   They're "social programs", but they're reasonable and necessary for any society, unlike a federal program like Obamacare which intrudes into the lives of individual citizens.

The pushback against CPS by conservatives is based on past abuses, in which CPS has sent under-trained and incompetent people into safe and loving homes to remove children without due process, based only on unfounded accusations. 

Protecting children requires a balanced approach implemented by well-trained personnel with sound judgment.  You don't find many such people willing to work for the wages offered.

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

@Hock 

Yup.. until those same people who scream that need those services (public safety/Police/Fire being great examples).. then they demand them....

Gotta love the hypocrisy...

yourproductsucks2
yourproductsucks2 topcommenter

what world view are you referring to? care to share specifics?

WhoKnows
WhoKnows topcommenter

@yourproductsucks2 Seems you HATE it when you look like a fool here - and yet, you do it so often!  And you REALLY hate it when people show your "world view" is warped!


Attack the messenger, you sad little ankle biter!

yourproductsucks2
yourproductsucks2 topcommenter

what facts am I not liking here? your whole persona on this blog revolves around personal attack. you three idiots don't like it when someone points out how foolish you look. where did your comments go on the other thread?I won't tie you up too long, as you've surely got more Intel to work up on your stalking victim. it takes a real man to attack an obviously mentally ill individual the way you ( and flyer) do.

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

@yourproductsucks2 

Do you know what an asshole looks like? Got a mirror? You will see a perfect example of one in it.

Saying how hard it is to read is commenting on how hard it is for you to read it. Saying what you said is being your normal asshole of a self.

yourproductsucks2
yourproductsucks2 topcommenter

Do you know what a run-on sentence looks like? The mom is scared... is a perfect example of one.

yourproductsucks2
yourproductsucks2 topcommenter

no, I'm commenting on how difficult it is to read your comment.

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