Child Protective Services in Arizona recently disclosed that it had failed to investigate thousands of calls to the child abuse hotline. The exact number of cases that were marked “Not Investigated” in the computer system is unknown. There is at least a backlog of 6,110 cases to be investigated by January 31, 2013. CPS also did not know the type of referrals these calls represented. Initially, the agency must screen these calls to determine whether an immediate response is needed or if the case can be handled with an alternative investigation. As of November 26, 2013, 1,789 cases had been sent to a case worker for investigation. This is deeply troubling to our community. It is equally concerning that if these investigations lead to CPS involvement that agency may not have the ability to offer services to these families and they do not have enough foster homes. Arizona already has 14,000 children in foster care, a record number. In response to the revelation that thousands of cases have not been investigated, Governor Brewer created the Legislative CPS Oversight Committee. A public forum was held on December 3, 2013. If you didn’t attend, you can still share your own suggestions for improving the system at email@example.com. This is your chance to be heard on creative, systemic ideas for making Arizona a better place for children and families. You can follow the media coverage on CPS and learn more about CPS and children in foster care at Arizona Children’s Action Alliance. http://azchildren.org/
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