PHOENIX — At least five child welfare supervisors were fired Wednesday after a four-month investigation by the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
“They were uncovered employees, so the letter was very simple and straightforward: Services no longer required and effective 5pm, no longer in-state employee,” said Charles Flanagan, director of the new Arizona division of Child Safety and Family Services. “No reasons are given in those letters to be consistent with personnel rules.”
Department of Economic Security Director Clarence Carter has kept his job.
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer called for a special session after she read the report.
The investigation looked into the reasons why more than 6,000 cases of child abuse went uninvestigated by the agency, formerly titled Child Protective Services that fell under the jurisdiction of the DES.
“The database showed 6,552 NI’s, or not investigated cases. An NI was not an authorized process,” Flanagan said. “It was ultimately discovered that number had what is called a “broken disposition,” where someone entered a different disposition which wiped out the historical memory.
“Through a lot of hard work…we eventually came to the final number, which was 6,596 original NI’s and of those 6,596, all but one required an investigation, so we are in the process of completing investigations on all 6,595.”
In early December, five CPS staff members were placed on administrative leave as part of the investigation. At the time, DES said the paid leave is standard for investigations into employees and has no disciplinary implications.
After the extent of CPS’ failure was revealed, Gov. Jan Brewer called the agency “broken” and dissolved it with the intent of creating a new child welfare agency.