5 CPS workers placed on paid leave; 2 identified - WNEM TV 5

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5 CPS workers placed on paid leave; 2 identified

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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

Child Protective Services says five workers were placed on paid administrative leave Dec. 2 after the discovery of more than 6,500 child abuse cases that were not investigated.

CPS would not name the employees, but they have been put on leave during the investigation into alleged wrongdoing.

Sources within the Arizona Department of Economic Security said two of the employees are Deborah Harper, the child welfare program manager, and Tracey Everitt, the Social Work Assessment Team (SWAT) program manager.

Both women were named in a once-confidential memo to Gov. Jan Brewer, written by the chief of the Office of Child Welfare Investigations, that revealed the agency's illegal practice of marking cases "not investigated" - to reduce investigator caseload and the number of unassigned reports.

Greg McKay wrote:

"With the advent of SWAT and Deborah Harper's ascension to Program Administrator, this practice became an acceptable measure to prevent newly created reports from being investigated. SWAT has no formal policy and does not have reports on an 'Organizational Structure' in the CHILDS database. This means SWAT personnel, nor their supervisors or Program Manager (Tracey Everitt) ever have documented accountability. The reports are closed under the original field office supervisor's name and Organization Structure in the CHILDS database."

According to state documents, both women began working at DES on Sept. 7, 1991, and Harper is Everitt's supervisor.

A search revealed they live together in Scottsdale.

On Wednesday, CBS5 News made several inquires to Arizona's Human Resources Department and the Department of Administration regarding state policy on an employee supervising another employee he or she lives with, but no response was received.

SWAT is the CPS team that looks at the priority of cases.

The decision to put them on leave came Dec. 2, the same day Brewer announced she created a review board to look into the status of more than 6,500 cases that could involve child abuse.

[Related: Brewer creates committee to probe CPS abuse cases]

CPS said no disciplinary action has been taken at this time and the investigation is ongoing.

[Related: 6,000 Arizona child abuse reports not investigated]

House Minority Leader Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix, released this statement Tuesday claiming Director of Economic Security Clarence Carter did not meet a deadline to complete the investigation of the neglected child abuse reports.

"Director Carter may have missed a serious deadline. According to the DES Work Plan for CPS, the examination of more than 6,000 uninvestigated reports of child abuse and neglect should have been completed on Dec. 2. That date has come and gone, and we are still waiting for answers. The agency has not verified whether all the reports have been reviewed, nor has it provided a detailed update on the status of the investigation.

"This is another indication of Director Carter's inability to lead CPS through this crisis. He's not offered an explanation, which shows a lack of accountability. CPS is a deeply damaged agency and needs the leadership of a person with credibility. In my opinion, Director Carter lost all credibility when he allowed these cases to go unexamined in the first place. He needs to resign, and the governor should appoint someone who has the integrity and experience necessary to correct our broken child-welfare system and protect Arizona's kids."

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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