Arizona child abuse complaints ignored
PHOENIX — A scandal in which 6,000 child abuse complaints in Arizona were filed away and never investigated illustrated what advocates say is a tragically common problem across the United States: Many agencies have crushing workloads and inadequate oversight.
In some cases, those flaws have led to deaths and criminal charges against social workers.
“This is a system that years ago was dubbed a poor system for poor people, and very often the resources are not there to do this very difficult and very important work,” said Dr. Howard Dubowitz, a pediatrician who studies child protection policies at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
“The notion that this is a system that is nicely equipped to fulfill its mandate is often a dream that some of us are hanging onto.”
Arizona officials promised prompt action when it was disclosed Thursday that over the past four years, a team at the state Child Protective Services agency tried to cope with the heavy workload by overlooking thousands of complaints.
Under state law, all reports generated via the hotline must be investigated.
Authorities re-examining the cases have identified at least 125 in which children were later alleged to have been abused.
No deaths have been connected to the lapses.
Clarence Carter, who as director of Arizona's Department of Economic Security oversees CPS, called the situation “cause for grave alarm.''
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
- Gunfire kills 3 at party in vacant house in Omaha
- Boy, 13, arrested in fatal stabbing at David Wark Griffith Middle School in East Los Angeles
- Police search finds no bombs on planes at Atlanta airport
- High-value detainees allowed family calls
- Marine Corps’ general outlines priorities, vision
- New York father kils 3 generations of family, himself
- Iowa event jump-starts primary campaigns
- Obama to spell out war against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria
- Secret Service: Shots fired near Biden’s Delaware home
- Wind knocks out power in Los Angeles
- Snowstorm crawls up coast, hitting New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, parts of Pennsylvania