CPS: Our cases don't slip through the cracks

PHOENIX - Thousands of abuse cases are investigated by Arizona's Child Protective Services.

ABC15 asked: "Do you feel cases slip through the cracks?" "In my perspective, I don't see that no," said Deborah Harper with Child Protective Services.

The agency looks for the vulnerability of the child, circumstances around the maltreatment and prior history with the agency.

We wanted to ask them about the case against Rickesha Burns . She was arrested last month after doctors found bruises all over her 2-year old son. They also found signs of sexual abuse.

We learned this isn't Burns' first run in with CPS. The agency opened its first case on Burns in 2011 when her son was just a few months old. Doctors noticed scratches all over the baby's body.

Soon after, Burns went to the hospital again after she noticed her son's arm was swollen. According to records, she claims the injury happened after she got into a car accident.

But X-rays showed the injury didn't match her story and the baby had multiple fractures in various stages of healing. Even after we pointed this case out to CPS workers, they still stood behind their position.

"Personally again, I've been doing this job a long time and I don't see that as slipping through the cracks," said Harper.

In fact, Harper says they are just one part of the entire picture.

"Ultimately Juvenile Court has the final authority on when kids return home. CPS makes recommendations to the Juvenile Court," said Harper.

ABC15 asked if she was saying the responsibility falls on the judge. She said: "I'm saying under the current system, the JC is the final decision making authority," said Harper.

CPS says on average, their workers get 20 new cases a week and they have made changes to allow case workers to spend more time with the children. 

The state has also budgeted to allow the agency to get more workers.

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