Jan 3, 2014 7:48 PM by Erika Flores

CARE Team meets in Tucson about how to improve CPS issues

TUCSON-The governor appointed team dealing with all those uninvestigated CPS calls was in Tucson.

Back in November, it was revealed that more than 6,500 child abuse and neglect calls into the CPS hotline should have been investigated but weren't.

The so-called "CARE" team was assigned by Governor Jan Brewer to oversee CPS as they weed through those files deciding which calls should become cases.

The CARE Team met in Tucson Friday, at the Southern Arizona Child Advocacy Center.

The meeting was behind closed doors, but News 4 Tucson did get the opportunity to talk to several key players on the team who said they plan to meet with agencies across Arizona and come up with a plan to make sure this doesn't happen again.

"We cannot afford to ignore this anymore," said Leah Landrum Taylor, state senator and CARE Team member.

"We must guarantee the safety of those children," said CARE Team Chair Charles Flanagan.

The child advocate response examination team or care team is taking charge of how to guarantee that safety.

"This is something that is needed if we are going to make sure this never happens again, said Landrum Taylor.

They were appointed by Governor Brewer to oversee CPS staff investigating the thousands of child abuse cases that were overlooked and make sure other cases don't fall through the cracks.

"The children were let down by the state," said Landrum Taylor. "That's why we're taking the concerted effort to go around and hear from as many individuals, entities and organizations as we can."

They met at the Southern Arizona Child Advocacy Center.

"We talked about the center where we're at right now and how well that works. having co-location of resources, and actually just communicating with one another as opposed to working in two different silos that don't communicate," said Flanagan.

They also praised the way the center has handled cases.

"When we follow our protocols and we follow our laws, then we don't have these cases that slip through the cracks," said Kathy Rau with the Southern Arizona Children's Advocacy Center.

"I know how a county such as Pima County has models that we can follow and we've heard about those models today and we want to make sure that's incorporated," said Flanagan.

State Senator Leah Landrum Taylor said she hopes lawmakers make this a priority this legislative session.

There is no one on the CARE Team from Southern Arizona, but Rau said that doesn't concern her because she feels like their voices were heard in this meeting.


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