DCS changing methods of child investigations - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

DCS changing methods of child investigations

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Tucson- Two years ago, thousands of child abuse cases in Arizona were left in the dark. Now, the Department of Child Safety is working on proposing new rules, when it comes to conducting child abuse investigations.

The proposed rule states, “To protect the safety of children a DCS investigator shall interview or observe the alleged child victim, if possible, and may interview other children and individuals.”

Which means cases that need to be investigated, may no longer require interviewing or seeing the child in question.

Attorney Kymberly Moffett, who works with child welfare cases, said these new rules are less restrictive compared to the current guidelines and it's creating concern.

“Now they're saying they want to investigate less, involve ourselves less, do fewer things rather than do more things to protect the states children, said Moffett.

David Higuera from the Children's Action Alliance said every child abuse case is very different and is hoping DCS will help clarify these new rules.

“We cannot treat a call because a child had no lunch in their lunch box today, the same as for a child that shows up with bruises on their face.  Those are two different scenarios," said Higuera.

In a statement, DCS states,“Nothing is more important to DCS than the safety of children and one of our strategic objectives is increasing the accuracy of child welfare safety and risk assessments. Rules are being developed that would both support that objective and ensure that DCS responses are balanced to the needs of every case,”

Moffett said bottom line, it's about saving children's lives.

“God forbid that there are fatalities. If we do investigate the calls but we don't do a thorough investigation of the call, we're going to have the same exact situation we had two years ago when there were six thousand cases not investigated at all,” said Moffett.

The Department of Child Safety said the public can still review and comment on these proposals. Just go to dcs.az.gov.

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