PHOENIX (AP)- A team named by Gov. Jan Brewer to review how more than 6,500 child abuse and neglect reports went uninvestigated and to recommend changes at the agency released its report Friday. Some of the key findings and recommendations of the CARE team:
The agency should be refocused on its core mission of child safety with direct accountability to the governor.
The 6,554 cases were not investigated due to systemic failure, a lack of accountability and transparency and bad decision-making.
Law enforcement agencies are a critical and underused partner.
Teams made up of state child welfare law enforcement investigators, local police, child welfare agency specialists and social services groups are the best way to deliver results.
More staff, greater efficiency and following law and policy can help ensure the agency accomplishes its child safety mission.
The new Division of Child Safety and Family Services should consult with the Office of the Attorney General to reevaluate the current interpretation of federal privacy laws so the agency can be more transparent.
Social workers assigned to the field should receive investigator training, possibly through a community college law enforcement training program.
The Legislature should remove civil service protections from all agency workers so they can be rewarded for exceptional performance.
Create an inspections bureau to tighten oversight.
Overhaul the hotline process to ensure calls get a quick response by increasing staffing and adding law enforcement officers.