Thousands of confidential state documents on children and parents involved in abuse and neglect cases were found in an a Phoenix alley, but state officials said the records are back in the hands of Child Protective Services.
The Department of Economic Security, the parent organization of CPS, confirmed the loss and discovery of the records to CBS 5 News on Tuesday night, but would not say where in Phoenix the records were found or by whom.
Confidential information in the documents included names, Social Security and phone numbers, addresses, medical records and photographs as well as reports of child abuse and neglect.
"The Department of Economic Security is extremely concerned about this report," the agency said in a statement. "Child Protective Services never disposes cases in such a manner as it is not only against policy and procedure, but prohibited by state and federal law. This is clearly a breach of confidentiality and the department is investigating further to ensure strict enforcement of privacy and confidentiality laws. Anyone found to be involved in wrong doing will be held accountable in accordance with the law."
House Minority Leader Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix, released the following statement in the wake of the alley discovery:
"This news underscores the need for new leadership in the Department of Economic Security. We have seen children failed by Child Protective Services, time and time again.
"I have no confidence in DES Dir. Clarence Carter. I don't believe he has the ability to appropriately address this newest issue, nor do I have faith that he can steer CPS through the crisis it is facing involving 6,000 unexamined reports of child abuse and neglect.
"Clearly, it is time for Dir. Carter to resign and for the governor to appoint someone with the experience and credibility needed to correct the damage done to this agency. We have an obligation to protect Arizona's most vulnerable kids."
Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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