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(844) 627-8267 | Info@NationalCyberSecurity

DCS finds flaw in department’s data system, cases may be impacted | #childsafety | #kids | #chldern | #parents | #schoolsafey

PHOENIX — Arizona’s Department of Child Safety said Monday it found a flaw in the department’s data system that could impact cases in the child welfare system.

The Arizona Attorney General’s Office has sent a letter to presiding judges across Arizona asking to postpone any trials or upcoming hearings for two weeks out of an abundance of caution.

The letter states DCS found a significant number of documents may not have been disclosed over the last two years, Our preliminary assessment of the situation has determined that a minimum of 3,800 juvenile dependency cases statewide cases may be impacted.

The letter went on to state they are asking the court to suspend any trials and severance proceedings for the next two weeks so they can make sure all documents have been disclosed.

DCS has identified 139 cases of finalized adoptions that may have had incomplete disclosure, We are urgently working through these cases individually to identify whether all documents were provided by the Department to counsel.

DCS Director David Lujan tells ABC15 the issues were around their data system, Guardian, which was implemented in 2021.

When the system was put in place it prevented providers, such as social workers, from directly uploading documents into a case file.

According to the governor’s office, the previous administration required case managers to review and approve the documents to be uploaded which created a substantial backlog of provider documents.

Moving forward, Director Lujan has changed this system to allow documents to be uploaded to case files directly by providers. Additionally, the Department is working with the Children’s Bureau, the Auditor General, and the Department of Administration to eliminate any further design flaws, a news release stated.

The governor’s office wrote that a preliminary search of the data shows 596 open juvenile court cases have 1,867 unapproved documents associated with them.

139 closed cases that resulted in adoptions have an associated 252 documents, and 515 closed cases that resulted in guardianships have an associated 1,962 documents. 139 closed cases that resulted in adoptions have an associated 252 documents, and 515 closed cases that resulted in guardianships have an associated 1,962 documents, the release added.

ABC15 asked Director Lujan if there is a chance that parents could have lost their children or had their rights severed over this, he responded, “I don’t think so. Most of these cases, if not all documents were disclosed through other means and we feel it’s highly unlikely that the nature of these documents would have resulted in a different outcome.”

Lujan said that’s why they are going through each case and document and making sure that those things are disclosed so the courts can make those decisions.

Contact Investigator Nicole Grigg at nicole.grigg@abc15.com

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