PHOENIX (FOX 10) -- Officials with the Arizona Department of Child Safety have detailed its foster placement licensing process Wednesday, following the arrest of a 48-year-old woman in connection with allegations of child abuse.
Machelle Lea Hobson has been charged with multiple counts of child molestation, child abuse, child neglect, child molestation, and unlawful imprisonment by officials in Pinal County. Court documents have provided graphic details of the alleged crimes, including allegations of malnutrition, full-body pepper-spraying by Hobson, and disciplining of the children if they don't recall their lines or refuse to participate in Hobson's YouTube video efforts.
In addition, there are allegations of Hobson pinching a boy's private parts with her fingernails to the point of bleeding, as well as allegations that pepper-sprayed the private parts of a girl.
The children, according to DCS officials, were removed from Hobson's home on March 14.
In a statement released on Wednesday, DCS officials say while they can't comment on specific aspects of the case, citing confidentiality laws, they did comment, in general teams, on how the department licenses its foster placements. Officials said potential foster placements have to undergo a thorough vetting process before acquiring a license, which includes full background checks, a central registry check for prior DCS history, obtaining a fingerprint clearance card issued by DPS, home inspections, reference checks, and licensing classes through a provider agency.
In addition, DCS officials say foster placements also receive quarterly home visits from their licensing agencies, in addition to monthly DCS visits. Also, a court must approve all out-of-home placements, with the foster placements scrutinized, through the court, by the biological parents' attorneys, the children's attorneys, the Guardian Ad Litem, described as an attorney who works in the best interest of the children, the Foster Care Review Board, and the judge.
Once parental rights are severed, DCS officials say the foster parents begin the adoption process, and when the adoption is approved by the court, DCS is no longer involved with the family.
"Despite all of these safeguards, people are sometimes able to avoid detection, especially if a person has no prior criminal or child abuse history," read a portion of the statement. In addition, officials say they investigate all reports of abuse and neglect, and work with law enforcement agencies to ensure the suspects are brought to justice.
DCS officials also said the vast majority of foster parents in Arizona are "kind, charitable people".
Report Child Abuse or Neglect to DCS