Thousands of Child Abuse Reports in Arizona Ignored


At Reason, we've reported on any number of cases where state child-protective service employees have abused their authority to take children away from families. But in Arizona, officials of their child welfare services have discovered the opposite: There are thousands of child abuse claims called into the state that have not been investigated.

The Associated Press reports:

Thousands of cases of suspected child abuse that were reported to a statewide hotline have gone uninvestigated over the past four years, putting children across Arizona at risk, state officials disclosed Thursday.

The cases were misclassified as not requiring investigations starting in 2009. The number rapidly escalated in the past 20 months as caseloads increased and changes were made to the hotline team, said Clarence Carter, head of the state's child welfare system.

Five thousand of the 6,000 cases that were not investigated happened in that time, and all will be reviewed, Carter said. At least 125 cases already have been identified where children subsequently became the subject of another child abuse investigation.

Read the whole story here.

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  1. If any of the tips involved parents on drugs the coppers would be there lickety-split.

  2. I am not surprised at all by this, not at all!

  3. Isn’t Arizona one of those Rugged Individualistic States in which their citizens “Don’t the GOB-MINT tell’n them what to do?”

    1. Yep.

      Keep in mind that these are ‘tips’ – tip-offs that, if they were for drug possession, Reason would be saying that there isn’t enough PC to sustain an investigation.

      This little article is written a basic assumption that most, if not all, of these tips are legitimate and that we should expand the ranks of our CPS investigators until we can investigate *every single one* of them, no matter the cost or what other priorities may have to fall behind.

      125 out of 5000 cases *may* have been mis-classified – notice the article only states that those children became the subject of another *investigation* later and no mention of how many of those investigations bore fruit.

      So we’re talking around a quarter of a percent of erroneous classification. Let’s be generous and assume that 5 times that many tips are real child abuse not investigate – still 1.25% of total number of tips marked NFA. Not exactly a stain on AZ CPS’s ability to protect children.

      1. Excuse me, misplaced a decimal point. I’m always missing mundane details like that.

        2.5% may have been misclassified.

        1. Which might be acceptable if

          a) people had more control over protecting their children – since it’s left to CPS and bureaucrats are charged with this, if say in a divorce your child is being abused, any actions you take to directly protect the child in the same way CPS can – would land you in jail.
          b) if CPS were held liable for any mistakes (see Scotus decision) – as there are several cases where the abuse should’ve been obvious, the other parent was making the complaint, but CPS only started caring after the death or disabling injuries to the child.

          Maybe if CPS were only brought in when at least one parent or a child requested their assistance – 2.5% would be no big deal.

          But since CPS is the only organization allowed to protect divorced kids being abused and in doing so, parents are barred from taking other actions, 2.5% mishandled is an absolute disgrace.

          Additionally a quick search found in a study showed 12 out of 1000 children were in abusive situations (in 2005 thru 2007 numbers) – so if the problem is .012%, 2.5% error rate is extremely high.

          But maybe they’ve never heard of 6 sigma for service – I guess it’s possible given the government cannot run a website either.

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