Once-confidential memo reveals CPS mess - WNEM TV 5

UPDATE

Once-confidential memo reveals CPS mess

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(Source: CBS 5 News) (Source: CBS 5 News)
PHOENIX (CBS5) -

A Phoenix police detective in charge of scrutinizing criminal investigations at Child Protective Services warned in a memo about the "dangerous and unlawful practice" of not investigating thousands of reports of child abuse or neglect.

The Nov. 12 memo from Gregory McKay to Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer alerted her to the massive problem within CPS.

McKay said in the memo, "in the prior 20 months, more than 5,000 reports made to the department involving child abuse or neglect were not closed as 'Not Investigated.'"

He said "the implication is clearly one of failed child safety and protection multiplied by 5,000." He said not one child was seen and assessed.

McKay called it "an attempt by CPS to lessen the already over-burdened investigative arm of the agency."

In the memo, the detective said "the final implication is what will be perceived as mismanagement of the public trust, and the public's money."

In 2012, CPS was given more than $70 million to slash caseloads burdens, initiate process improvements and prevent "egregious cases of child abuse through better training and accountability," he said in the memo.

McKay said instead, "SWAT teams and units like the new Hotline QA Unit took on large amounts of manpower to 'not investigate' reports requiring investigation." 

The number of cases that CPS had not investigated has since grown to more than 6,500 reports of child abuse in the state since 2009.

Phoenix Vice Mayor Bill Gates applauded McKay in a statement Wednesday:

"As a member of the Phoenix City Council, I commend the work of Officer Gregory McKay of the Phoenix Police Department for bringing to light the serious issues and cases uninvestigated by CPS.

"He is an example of a dedicated and invested employee at the City of Phoenix. Officer McKay identified procedural failures and immediately brought the issue to light to stop an unacceptable practice and prevent additional children from remaining in danger. He showed initiative and took the lead.

"Our children are the future of our community; we must protect those who cannot protect themselves. Thank you, Officer McKay."

An independent team created by Brewer 10 days ago to oversee the ignored reports says they've assigned more than 1,200 of those cases to social workers.

The CARE team also announced Wednesday that they've verified that 556 reports from the past four years have now received responses. Nearly 200 children have been visited by police or social workers.

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

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