Forum on CPS gets heated

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX (AP) -- Arizona's child welfare agency has placed five employees on paid administrative leave as it investigates how more than 6,500 child abuse and neglect reports were labeled as not worthy of investigation.
Department of Economic Security spokeswoman Tasya Peterson says the suspensions don't mean the Child Protective Services workers are being disciplined, only that they are being investigated for possible wrongdoing.
Juvenile Corrections Director Charles Flanagan says he believes those suspended are managers or supervisors. Gov. Jan Brewer on Monday named Flanagan to head a team she created to oversee the botched child abuse reports and identify areas needing improvement.

Flanagan confirmed CPS concluded a preliminary review of the 6,500 cases this weekend.

"However, it's up to us to review their work and make sure it was done appropriately," Flanagan told 3TV. He and hundreds of others attended a forum Tuesday night, which was organized by child welfare groups to address the problems with CPS.

Speakers at the forum on reforming Arizona's child welfare safety net told lawmakers that there are many more holes in the system than just the current crisis at the state's Child Protective Services agency.
They told state officials on a panel that prevention programs which could head off family emergencies are lacking, and CPS workers are so underpaid and undertrained that the agency can't keep workers.