Backlogged cases outnumber Department of Child Safety workers roughly 15 to 1, a gap the agency's director says cannot be bridged.
The Arizona Capitol Times reports DCS Director Greg McKay told a legislative committee yesterday that 52,000 new cases each year make the backlog impossible to eradicate using the agency's current capacity.
The agency's goal was to reduce those cases to 1,000 by the end of fiscal year 2015. The backlog has risen by nearly 2,000 cases since June 2014.
Cases become backlogged after 60 days of no documented activity.
"We set a goal that is not attainable because of the capacity of the organization," McKay said.
Sen. Debbie Lesko asked why the state should entrust more funds to DCS. McKay replied that the $23.1 million in general funds and $5.9 million in federal money the agency received to close old cases "was not well spent."
McKay helped create the new agency during a special legislative session in May 2014 after he discovered there were almost 7,000 cases that hadn't been investigated.
The goal at the time was to investigate all of the nearly 7,000 cases. A Joint Legislative Budget Committee report says DCS pushed to achieve that goal, but more than 3,000 ended up in the backlog after another 60 days passed without documented activity.
McKay was appointed director of the agency in February.