As many as 6,000 child abuse cases reported to an Arizona state hotline were misclassified and thus went uninvestigated since 2009, officials said Thursday.
“The idea that there are 6,000 cases where we don’t know whether or not children are safe, that’s cause for grave alarm,” Clarence Carter, head of Arizona’s child welfare system, told the AP. Carter says 5,000 of the cases occurred in the last 20 months when the hotline underwent changes and personnel saw an increased caseload.
Thus far, 125 of the cases involved children who became the subject of later abuse investigations.
Governor Jan Brewer noted that Child Protective Services was a weak point earlier this year and added 50 new caseworkers and funding for an additional 150 in July.