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Arizona Kind Of 'Forgot' To Investigate Some Child Abuse Reports. About 6000 Of Them. Is That Bad?
We know how it goes, sometimes you get a little bogged down in your work: that movie review took forever to come together, you forgot that the Tumblr needed to be updated, you had to clean up a lot of pixelly edges when you added Derpy Hooves to yet another photo of a Republican. Things get misplaced in the shuffle sometimes, like your rent check or your kid's birthday present. Or your kid. Then again, when we screw up at our job, that usually just means that commenters have to wait a while for the next dick joke to drop. If you're Arizona Child Protective Services and you screw up your job, it looks like this:
Clarence Carter, director of the Department of Economic Security, which oversees CPS, revealed last week that more than 6,000 reports generated by the state’s child abuse hotline hadn’t been investigated since 2009, most in the past 20 months. The CPS plan to clear those reports was released early this week has been widely panned as inadequate and short on specifics.
Gov. Jan Brewer is standing behind Carter, possibly to shield herself from rotten vegetables; she has ordered an "independent investigation" and her office's spokesman said that "calls for Carter's resignation have come from largely predictable people,” like pretty much everybody who thinks Child Protective Services should maybe be protecting children.
In her State of the State address in January, Brewer took credit for “overhauling” the child abuse hotline system to insure that top priority went to the most urgent cases of abuse. Instead, thousands of case files were simply marked "N.I., for "not investigated," and were not sent on to caseworkers for review, although state law requires that all abuse reports from the hotline must be investigated. We haven't seen a good explanation of how those files came to be marked "N.I." -- which is what the state is investigating. As far as we can tell, hotline workers just decided for themselves whether the cases were worth a closer look. We'd sure love to be wrong about that.
When CPS Director Carter announced the discovery of the shelved cases last week, he noted that the department was reviewing them and had already passed on 61 percent of them for further investigation; he promised that all cases meriting full investigation will be completed by the end of January. And he doesn't have a buggy website to blame.
Supporters of Gov. Brewer also said that while the failure to investigate occurred on her watch, she is also kind of the hero, not the goat, since she had also set up the investigative team within CPS that found the neglected cases. After they were neglected. But still, they were found, right? Good job well done!
We can think of one way that this sort of thing could be avoided: fully staff the agency so that too few caseworkers aren't trying to sort through too many cases. But that might require some socialist taxes, so we may just be hallucinating there.