Report: Arizona Department of Child Safety received tips, complaints before child deaths

Posted at 8:36 AM, Oct 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-07 15:50:50-04

In dozens of cases, the Arizona Department of Child Safety received prior complaints alleging abuse, before a child died.

DCS just released its 2016 Annual Fatality and Near Fatality Review Report.

The data shows, between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016, the DCS hotline received 144 reports alleging a death due to abuse or neglect. In 61 of those cases, DCS had previously received a report alleging abuse.

According to DCS spokesperson Vickie Isaac, a prior report denotes an allegation of abuse or neglect but it does not mean the claims were substantiated.

In June, police say Octavia Rogers stabbed and killed her three sons inside their Phoenix home. Prior to the killings, DCS received three complaints about Rogers. The most recent claim was in March, when her baby was allegedly born with pot in his system.

DCS determined the children were not in any imminent danger.

RELATED: DCS director working to eliminate backlog cases

The report also reveals that Phoenix zip code 85016, has the second highest child fatalities in the state. Within a year, there were 17 fatalities and three near fatalities.

A zip code in Tucson has the highest child fatalities in the state.

DCS says it will further analyze the two zip codes to develop possible prevention strategies.

Take a look at the map below to see where these child death reports were located in the state, by zip code. The darker the pin, the more death reports were in that zip code.

It is believed that these two zip codes have significantly higher death reports due to the fact that hospitals reside in each area.

Co-sleeping is also a big concern for DCS. The report found several cases where infants died after co-sleeping with a parent.

DCS released this statement:

“The Department of Child Safety continues to make workforce excellence a priority by improving capacity and retention through the Fiscal Year 2017 Strategic Plan. The Department of Child Safety leadership understands that turnover creates significant challenges and can translate to significant service delays and costs. The Department of Child Safety continues to pursue a variety of strategies to significantly improve staff retention, including addressing high caseloads, developing a method to compensate employees for a job well done, and offering more advanced training opportunities.”