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Lawmaker: CPS problems began before Clarence Carter

PHOENIX — An Arizona lawmaker said she is not surprised the head of the department that oversaw Arizona’s scandal-ridden child welfare agency has kept his job after a four-month investigation.

“When we looked at some of the uninvestigated cases, they were before [Clarence Carter] started,” said state Sen. Leah Landrum Taylor. “So again, this is something that’s been going on systemically for a very long time, years, decades. It was even before his watch started.”

While Carter’s ability and competency to manage a state agency the size of the Department of Economic Security has been questioned, Landrum Taylor seems confident he’ll succeed now that the former Child Protective Services has been dissolved.

“The solution actually came when the governor separated CPS from DES because it’s huge,” she said. “Now it’s its own department. DES was just too huge, that’s not going to be the case and Director Carter is moving forward.”

Landrum Taylor, who was appointed to the CARE Team to help the investigation, said none of what DPS uncovered in the months-long investigation came as a shock.

“Bottom line, there has been a systemic issue and the culture in general within CPS has to change,” she said.

Six people were fired from the agency prior to DPS releasing the extensive report.

Landrum Taylor said she is still reading through the massive report that detailed the breakdown within CPS, which ultimately led to the lives of thousands of children lives being put at risk because allegations of abuse or neglect went uninvestigated.