Gov., lawmakers planning child welfare reforms

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By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron

PHOENIX (AP) -- Gov. Jan Brewer is asking lawmakers to add investigators and beef up training for state Child Protective Services workers.

The actions come as part of an effort to deal with a string of incidents where children were harmed despite abuse complaints being filed with CPS.

State legislators say they will consider funding changes recommended by a state task force and see what laws are needed to address them.

Brewer incorporated some of the task force proposals in her policy wish-list and budget proposals released this week. The governor is seeking a $3.7 million funding increase for CPS, with steps that include bulking up CPS' investigative capacity.

The agency has had trouble filling open positions, staffers have a high turnover rate, and the backlog of cases has jumped.