Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (R) is being criticized for ignoring thousands of child abuse and reports of neglect.
According to the “Child Protective Services Reform: Building a Better Arizona” website hosted on the governor’s official page, “Brewer has made improvements to the state’s child protective services (CPS) system a priority. The Governor has declared the CPS system in Arizona must promote and prioritize the safety of children and inspire public confidence.”
In her 2013 State of the State address, Brewer claimed she would hire an additional 150 Child Protective Service employees and improve the department “by overhauling the hotline system so the most urgent calls are directed for faster response; by streamlining the hiring process to ensure every available caseworker position is filled; and by cutting paperwork burdens so caseworkers spend more time checking up on children.”
But according to Clarence Carter, Brewer’s hand-selected director of the Department of Economic Security, which oversees Child Protective Services, the “overhauling” mostly consisted of closing 6,000 cases filed since 2009 without investigating them.
Democrats and Republicans expressed disbelief at Carter’s announcement. In a statement, State Sen. Nancy Barto (R) said “the systemic problem within CPS needs to be fixed. The public must know that this neglect of duty will never happen again and that the people responsible for this disturbing practice are held accountable. In addition, a long term reform of the agency is warranted to restore public confidence.”
Sen. Barto was particularly dismayed by Carter’s claim that 3,000 cases were closed between November 15-17 of this year.
“How thorough could those assessments be?” she asked.
Dana Naimark, president of the Children’s Action Alliance, agreed with Barto but went one step further, demanding Carter’s resignation. “Since this practice of leaving reports uninvestigated has continued over several years from different units within the Department of Economic Security, it’s clear it was not one or two rogue employees, but a systemic policy,” she wrote.
“Director Clarence Carter is responsible for this lapse and we urge you to ask for his resignation.”
[“Arizona Governor Jan Brewer Celebrates Victory” via Shutterstock]