Arizona CPS pledges backlog of complaints will be reviewed

Nov. 26, 2013 at 6:31 PM
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PHOENIX, Nov. 26 (UPI) -- Child welfare workers in Arizona said they will review all of the 6,110 "not investigated" claims of child abuse by Jan. 31.

The staggering number of uninvestigated cases was revealed during a recent review of the state Department of Economic Security, which oversees the Arizona's Child Protective Services.

DES Director Clarence Carter said he does not expect the massive backlog of reviews to affect the agency's ongoing investigations into child abuse. The Arizona Republic reported Tuesday officials questioned how that was possible given the staggering number of tips the agency has received but not reviewed in 2013.

Carter said the work would include all 257 CPS employees and Gov. Jan Brewer pledged overtime pay for case workers, though supervisors aren't eligible for the extra pay. Officials said the department is already understaffed, leading to the backlog in the first place.

Carter told lawmakers on an oversight panel in the state legislature, the tips would be evaluated on a triage basis and 2,919 have been examined thus far. Of them, 1,789 have been sent to case workers for review and 23 have been referred to police due to potential criminal conduct.

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