State of Arizona Office of the Auditor General



Department of Economic Security—Division of Children, Youth and Families—Child Protective Services—Timeliness and Thoroughness of Investigations (December 2005, Report No. CPS-0502)


The report addresses the need for the Division to improve its investigations of child abuse and neglect reports.  Investigations are a critical first step to ensuring children’s safety and well-being.  As such, it is important that investigations be timely as any delay may further jeopardize children’s safety.  Likewise, it is important that the investigation of the circumstances leading to the CPS report be thorough so that the services and supports needed to ensure safety and well-being can be provided.

The report found that even though the Division is statutorily required to investigate all reports in a prompt and thorough manner, some reports were not investigated, and many reports that were investigated did not meet statutory or division requirements for timeliness and thoroughness.  The Division believes that unmanageable workloads, staff turnover, and the limited experience of some CPS supervisors and newly hired investigators are the primary contributing factors to its investigation problems and continues to take steps to address these issues. However, since these factors are likely to continue, additional meaningful changes are needed, including streamlining the investigation process and establishing effective oversight and accountability mechanisms.

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