Brewer: Team to look into uninvestigated child abuse cases - FOX 10 News |

Brewer: 10-person team to look into uninvestigated child abuse cases

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She's the woman we've been waiting to hear from.  Governor Brewer finally spoke out in public about the failure of Child Protective Services to properly investigate some 6,000 reports of child abuse.

On Monday, Brewer announced the creation of a task force to oversee the investigation.  She did not, however, fire Clarence Carter, the head of the Department of Economic Security.

10 people from various backgrounds were assigned a tough task by the governor.  They are to oversee the investigation of thousands of child abuse reports that were mishandled and report directly back to the governor.

Brewer is fired up about the mess that is CPS right now.

"And somebody.. people will be held accountable.. I'm not going to tolerate this.  I think we need a complete, full investigation.  We need to know where all the bodies are buried if you will," she said.

The governor had just introduced her independent oversight team known as CARE -- Child Advocate Response Examination.

"I have formed an independent top level team of child welfare advocates to verse the investigation of CPS cases," she said.  "Each case will be thoroughly and properly investigated to ensure the safety of the children, the welfare of each child must be known."

It is a daunting task.  6,000 plus cases of child abuse reports dating back as far as 2009.  Most were reports that came into the CPS abuse hotline over the last year.

The questions:  Were those reports valid?  Where are those kids?  Are they okay?

"Well, I'm a mom and I was on a school board and dealt with kids from all walks of life.  Of course, you're going to be worrying every night.. how are these children and are they okay," said CARE Team member Rep. Kate Brophy McGee.

The Governor was asked several times about the future of DES Director Clarence Carter.  DES is the parent agency of CPS and some have called for his resignation in light of this crisis.

Brewer says she has confidence in Carter.

"Carter needs to go.. that is the biggest problem we have right now is the lack of leadership at that agency," said House Minority Leader Chad Campbell, who is calling for Carter to resign.

We need to put somebody in that position who can manage that agency, manage the oversight and deal with what needs to be done," he said.

Campbell says Carter is ultimately responsible.  "It would be very easy for Governor Brewer to ask Mr. Carter to leave and I think if she did, he would."

"We're not going to start attacking people until we know we have a basis to do that," said Gov. Brewer.

Does she still have confidence in Carter?  "I do," she replied.

On Monday, Brewer stood by Carter, the director she appointed in 2011, but said there will be accountability.

"We're talking a lot about these 6,000 cases, but there's also a backlog of over 10,000 cases.. there was a 40 plus percent of cases not being investigated in a timely manner last year.. this is an ongoing problem," said Campbell.  "The fact that the governor is still protecting Director Carter is still.. is just amazing to me."

CPS is also looking into the uninvestigated cases, along with the Department of Public Safety.  To date, we have not been told of any disciplinary action that has been taken against any state employee in connection with the uninvestigated cases.

The CARE Team is chaired by Charles Flanagan, Director of the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections. The other nine team members are Arizona State Senator Leah Landrum Taylor, Ariz. State Rep. Kate Brophy McGee, Robert Bell, Children's Justice Coordinator at the Childhelp Children's Center of Arizona, Cindi Nannetti, a veteran prosecutor with the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, Deb Gullett, child advocate and former legislator, Greg McKay, Chief of the Office of Child Welfare Investigations (OCWI), Jan Strauss, a former Mesa Police Chief and a CPS representative to be announced. 

Online: Click here to read the CARE Team Overview

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