CPS action plan raises new concerns about accountability - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

CPS action plan raises new concerns about accountability

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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

Clarence Carter, director of Arizona's Department of Economic Security, wants the public to know that he is addressing the major problems within the state's child protective services division.

DES just released an "action plan" that explains how the agency will address the 6,110 child abuse complaints that were not investigated over the past few years.

However, child advocacy groups don't believe the action plan goes far enough.

Dana Wolfe Naimark is president of the Children's Action Alliance.

Naimark said the DES proposal fails to mention who will review the cases, how they'll do it and who will be heading up the investigations.

"We are very concerned about transparency given what has happened," said Naimark. "Because the process that they had reported on paper, apparently is not the process that they were following in real life, and so we need to know how are you going to do things differently going forward. How do we know you are making better decisions and you have better control over this going forward?"

Another issue Naimark and other child advocates have is the timetable state officials have set to review the thousands of cases that slipped through the cracks.

The action plan sets a Dec. 4 deadline to access and categorize the child abuse complaints, with reviews of all 6,110 cases - to be completed - by the end of January.

William Grimm is a senior attorney with the National Center for Youth Law.

Grimm told CBS that it is unrealistic to believe that CPS could do an adequate job review of past cases, while keeping up with the current workload.

"I don't see how an agency that is continuing to get CPS reports and child abuse reports on a regular basis, can divert sufficient existing staff away to do the investigations in all of these back log cases, without neglecting the cases that are coming in today or tomorrow," said Grimm.

A spokesperson for DES sent CBS5 this statement:

"To mitigate the impact to case carrying staff, the Department has identified 257 non-case carrying staff members with case investigation experience who could potentially be called on to help with the investigations of these cases. Supervisors and managers within the agency who have investigation experience will also be utilized to complete the investigations."

"The Department is expected to finish an initial review of these cases by Dec. 2 to determine what course of action is needed to ensure child safety."  

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

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