More than 6,000 child abuse reports went ignored on her watch, the state revealed last week, but Arizona’s Republican Governor Jan Brewer says that she won’t ask the man in charge of Child Protective Services to resign.
It was Clarence Carter himself, head of the state’s Department of Economic Security, of which the child protection agency is a part, who released the report detailing the epidemic of abuse reports that were simply brushed aside.
“The calls for Carter’s resignation have come from largely predictable people,” Brewer spokesperson Andrew Wilder told The Associated Press. “She’s not entertaining calls like that right now, because her first concern is to ensure that every child whose case went uninvestigated is safe. That’s the immediate task at hand.”
Brewer (pictured) today announced that she has put together an independent group that will investigate the reports and why they all fell through the cracks of the state’s child protection system.
When he released the report about the 6,000-plus ignored reports, Carter said that his department was already checking out how the debacle happened.
Last January, Brewer announced what she called a major overhaul of the state’s child protection hotline, which takes reports of child abuse. The announcement came as part of her annual State of the State address, in which she said that under the overhaul, the most urgent reports of abuse would take top priority.
In the process, however it appears that thousands of cases were simply written off without even a look.
Reports of child abuse and neglect have been on the rise in Arizona, even though many other states have recently seen a decline.
Brewer has refused to blame rank-and-file case workers for the ignoring the cases, saying that the reports never even reached those workers who could investigate them.
“I have to ask the question, what else might not be working?” said Republican State Rep. Kate Brophy of Phoenix, co-chair of the Arizona legislature’s CPS oversight committee. “Is it a systemic problem?”