CPS seeing a growing number of child abuse deaths in Arizona

PHOENIX - Newly released statistics released by Child Protective Services show the agency is understaffed and overworked, and critics argue its having a negative impact on children.

According to its website, so far in 2011, CPS has recorded several deaths and near deaths from abuse or neglect. .

Earlier this month, Phoenix police said 6-year-old Jacob Gibson died from brain injuries after being beaten by his parents. CPS admits it had received five prior reports about abuse and neglect allegations before Gibson died.

In 2010, 23 children died from abuse or neglect, according to CPS. In five of those cases, CPS had prior contact at the home. In 2009, 22 children died and CPS had prior contact at the home in two of those cases.

According to records released to ABC15, CPS workers have seen a recent jump in calls to a statewide child abuse hotline.

From April through September of 2010, the agency received 17,068 calls that met the criteria for a CPS report. From October to March 2011, the agency received 17,586 calls.

According to CPS, workers are exceeding the state's caseload standard by 62%.

Over the past two years, the Department of Economic Security's budget, which oversees CPS, has faced steep budget cuts approved by state lawmakers trying to deal with Arizona's growing deficit.

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