The head of a newly-appointed team tasked with investigating 6,600 ignored child abuse and neglect cases says they've now assigned all of those cases to investigators.
A review done by Gov. Jan Brewer's appointed Child Advocate Response Examination (CARE) team of lawmakers and citizens, led by Charles Flanagan, began late last year.
Flanagan told the Arizona Legislature's Child Protective Services oversight committee that 12 law enforcement agencies across the state are now helping find children that might be at risk.
More than 175 Child Protective Services workers are assigned at least part-time to the team.
On Thursday, Arizona child welfare officials said 7,216 children identified in the reports have now been seen and 5,552 cases have had a response.
A separate Arizona Department of Public Safety investigation looked at what caused the issue. Their report claims the cases went unattended because of systemic failure, a lack of accountability, and transparency and bad decision making. [Related: CARE Team releases report on uninvestigated CPS cases]
CPS has been in the spotlight since Nov. 21 when Department of Economic Security Director Clarence Carter revealed that thousands of cases requiring investigation had instead been closed in recent years.
Five senior CPS workers were placed on leave Dec. 2 as an investigation into who authorized the action is conducted.
Sources within the Arizona Department of Economic Security, which oversees CPS, 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 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 investigators' caseloads and the number of unassigned reports.
Stay with cbs5az.com and CBS 5 News for updates on this developing story.
Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Thursday, December 12 2013 7:06 AM EST2013-12-12 12:06:01 GMT
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