Approximately 6,000 cases of suspected child abuse reported to an Arizona state hotline over the last four years have gone uninvestigated, officials announced on Thursday. Workers for the state's Child Protective Services reportedly mislabeled cases in order to focus on the more severe allegations they received, and then those mislabeled cases were never investigated.
All of the cases will be reviewed, according to the Associated Press, and already an estimate 125 of those cases were later linked to further child abuse allegations. The incident is being investigated by Arizona's Department of Public Safety, but so far nobody has been disciplined yet.
So how exactly did this happen? From the AP:
The practice of misclassifying the cases and essentially closing them started in 2009, Carter said. The number rapidly escalated in the past 20 months as caseloads increased and other changes were made, and 5,000 of the 6,000 cases happened in that time, he said.
The AP calculated that about 1 in 12 cases was being closed without proper procedure since January.
Unsurprisingly, officials, including Governor Jan Brewer have called the situation unacceptable. The CPS in Arizona has suffered from understaffing over the past few years, with Brewer requesting emergency funding for 50 additional caseworkers at the start of this year and adding 150 more caseworkers through the annual budget beginning in July.