Centuori & Associates, PC

Many Arizona residents are affected in some way by state agencies' intervention into matters of child welfare. For example, many times in family law proceedings such as divorce, child custody or child support, testimony of staff from the formerly named Child Protective Services has played a role in the court's decision-making.

The state's child protection mechanisms are in the midst of an ongoing reform, renaming and restructuring process. The Office of Child Welfare Investigations was a new broom tasked to sweep clean the previously exposed areas of child neglect and abuse never investigated by CPS. Now it has been discovered that two newly hired child abuse investigators made false or misleading claims to gain employment by the OCWI.

One child-abuse investigator omitted the alleged and lewd reason he resigned from his job in a sheriff's office. The other falsely claimed on his resume to have been a deputy at another sheriff's office. Now that the agency believes it has no choice but to fire them, the outcomes of the cases they have been working on for months could be derailed, to the detriment of the children involved.

Critics are saying it's a positive thing that the child protection staff in the investigations agency is increasing so rapidly, but standards shouldn't slip as a result. Proper background checking of new employees is just one way to avoid potential credibility gaps that could jeopardize cases against child abusers.

If you need advice on any aspect of state intervention in your family situation, don't hesitate to consult with an attorney working in the field of family law. Many are keenly watching the child welfare reform process unfold in Arizona, strategizing on how to obtain the best outcomes for their family law clients.

Source: azcentral.com, “Firing child-abuse workers goes far beyond 'oops',” March 28, 2014

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