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CPS official wants to close gaps endangering kids

Phoenix police detective Gregory A. McKay, shown in this undated handout photo provided by the Arizona Office of Child Welfare, is on loan to the state to serve as the new new Office of Child Welfare Investigations office chief. McKay wants to fill in cracks that he says can be deadly for children and haunting for those trying _ but failing _ to protect them. The unit’s creation was the chief recommendation of a task force appointed by Gov. Jan Brewer in response to a series of publicized serious child-abuse cases. (AP Photo/Arizona Office of Child Welfare)

Phoenix police detective Gregory A. McKay, shown in this undated handout photo provided by the Arizona Office of Child Welfare, is on loan to the state to serve as the new new Office of Child Welfare Investigations office chief. McKay wants to fill in cracks that he says can be deadly for children and haunting for those trying _ but failing _ to protect them. The unit’s creation was the chief recommendation of a task force appointed by Gov. Jan Brewer in response to a series of publicized serious child-abuse cases. (AP Photo/Arizona Office of Child Welfare)

The head of the new investigations unit of Arizona’s Child Protective Services wants to fill in cracks that he says can be deadly for children and haunting for those trying — but failing — to protect them.

Cracks such as disconnects between what Child Protective Services workers on one hand and police officers on the other know and need; gaps between what Arizona authorities know about allegations concerning a troubled family and the family’s history in another state; and uneven training for police officers investigating reports of abuse and neglect.

“That’s a heavy, awful burden for a human being to carry that went into this line of work to help and keep safe a child, to find out that their inactions later caused the death of a child,” said Greg McKay, chief of the new Child Welfare Investigations Office.

The unit’s creation was the chief recommendation of a task force appointed by Gov. Jan Brewer in response to a series of publicized serious child-abuse cases, including some in which the families had prior CPS contacts. Legislators last spring approved creation of the unit, effective Dec. 31, with annual funding of nearly $2.4 million.

The unit will have 30 workers when fully staffed, including McKay, four managers and 25 investigators.

That’s enough personnel to set up shop in the Phoenix and Tucson areas, but the unit likely would have to expand beyond 30 people to cover other counties, he said.

McKay said 11 people already have been hired or their hirings are being processed. The remainder will be chosen in January from 55 applicants, mostly current or former law enforcement officers but also some CPS workers.

The investigators must have experience and expertise in child-welfare investigations, and that fits McKay’s own background.

The veteran of nearly 20 years of police work, the 42-year-old is a Phoenix Police Department detective on loan to the state. A former patrol officer and street gang detective, McKay more recently worked homicide and then child crimes.

“My task was prove the case, prosecute somebody if they’re proven to have committed the crime and then provide everything to CPS and hope for the best,” McKay said during a recent interview.

As a result of his work, he and his wife took in a youngster as a foster child. He said that experience and other work provided insights on what happens to kids from troubled families.

“I saw the family perspective. I saw when I took away the father figures from homes for serious crimes, the devastation it left behind, what was going to maybe move in behind that person into the home,” he said. “It also pained me that this (arrest) isn’t the end.”

And now McKay has a beginning, with plenty to do to set up the new unit.

But he’s already settled on priorities and goals.

Police and CPS workers are supposed to run coordinated investigations, but McKay said that doesn’t always happen, due to circumstances such as burdens of proof that can affect gathering of evidence.

The injection of unit members’ investigative expertise into CPS should help “dual insights” between CPS caseworkers and law enforcement, McKay said.

“CPS personnel might be fresh out of school with social-worker degrees and end up in the so-called underbelly of society and looking at egregious behaviors and could use some help in assessing those things,” McKay said. “In the end, if somebody committed a crime, we want to hold that person criminally accountable and remove them from the scenario … We can help them do that.”

To be most effective, investigators will be posted in child advocacy centers that already jointly house CPS personnel, police and other specialists.

The unit will have CPS’ responsibility for investigating serious cases involving potential crimes, but law enforcement agencies would be lead on actual criminal investigations.

McKay said he wants the office to include a research and analysis unit to find out whether subjects of abuse or neglect reports have similar histories in other states.

That information allows caseworkers, attorneys and judges to make better-informed decisions about the safety of children, McKay said. “That is critical.”

He cited the case of a 10-year-old Phoenix girl who suffocated in a plastic box. It was claimed be accidental, but authorities later concluded the death was a homicide, and several adults await trial.

McKay said the family had CPS contacts in two other states before moving to Phoenix.

“Literally they jump from state to state with no one knowing about it,” he said. “When the heat gets too hot, they go to another state.”

Eventually there needs to be a nationwide database of substantiated reports of child maltreatment, but for now the new Arizona unit will step up efforts to learn whether alleged perpetrators or victims lived and had problems elsewhere, he said.

McKay said the unit will work with Arizona State University and the state’s police-certification agency to develop training material for child-welfare investigations, particularly for smaller jurisdictions that lack a big city police department’s specialized squads.

“Uniform training and knowledge would be huge,” he said. “I want to see a child in Greenlee County get the same level of protection that a child here in Phoenix would get.”

5 comments

  1. Law enforcement handling what should be a qualified social workers job never ends well. The devious in the adversarial, broken Family Court system will make sure the “other” parent ends up in prison. Arizona’s private prisons are seeking “customers”. Wake up people!

  2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJh4HACW_CQ&list=UUN9ThDddNH04_7c0Bsg0MjA&index=18

    Two Doctors Make Faces At Shila, Rose just takes off with our daughters Birth Record, Guy on balcony Ease Dropping, Same guy and Admin-Nurse from ER in and out with something that looks like quite pressing on there minds.
    And the perdition of future events, Well,,, NO! Mom’s, or in this case Shila in fact all woman know when somethings wrong! Most of this is posturing and Body language. We all use or interpret normal interrelation or contact in our Social settings, group(s) of choice or settings an environmental factors can play a large roll in our every day decision making. Distractions, deceptions and knowledge used to trick or make someone of less knowledge or understanding make another Commit to an understanding do to a position of power or corroboratory effort or something other then what they believe or there understanding of the truth to be. In other words when every can tell when every one is talking about you.
    What about going after the real bad ones the EMPIRE of ST. Rose HOSPITALS. just look how they break the law in below video and no one cares to do anything about it no are kid is danger and we can’t do anything as well legal kidnapping and trafficking kids. Because there was no reason to have anything to do C>P<S. How ever you look at it the doctors do not make the choices any more. I have the doctors signed release our daughter. Now with two files under two different names medical that will come up to hurt DeeAnn our daughter because the same thing is now affecting the MOM Shila, wrong labs wrong record wrong blood?
    She said it in the video above.
    What we was to have done was abandoned our child and the court paper work said we were told not to leave our child unattended repeatedly?
    Well we had already posted us going back and back and all over at there request to get what we needed to get our child released. That was the charges and the admit DATE WAS 2010 AND THE POLICE HOLD 2010 ALL SET UP AND FORGED NOTICES ALREADY SET UP I HAVE COPY,S OF THEM AND IF ANY ONE WOULD LIKE COPY,S OF THEM JUST ASK. The year was so they could violate hipa and get away with it too. now the charges are to have been something else. And the paperwork and the people doing it are the ones we are to fallow a case plan that was never given to us well one year and 6 mo later after witch they filed 3 times under the wrong name and ever record is wrong and they have never been to our home ever. And we are to change something about our home and our daughter never came home we did nothing and she was adopted right out of the hospital. and i can show you so much it is scary how the state can lie kidnap and forage children away from a loving mom and dad that has not done a thing.?!!!???
    Anthony Bush
    ynotbush@gmail.com

  3. hi: my name is princess tarley am looking for my sisther son last name Garley first name am not sure is right debasoc Garley my sisther name is Victora Garley if any thing pls Emaill tarleyprincess@yahoo.com phone number is 515-441-1686 pls Emaill m or call or txt m pls god bless u thank u

  4. Why doesn’t Gregory A. McKay investigate the crimes against my family and the unlawful kidnapping of my grandsons by his own Police Department without a warrant and without a pick up order? Or the unlawful threats by Detective Alan Walker to grandmother, Karla Johnson found at
    http://tinyurl.com/b7pfrp5

    RELEASE OF FORENSIC DOCUMENTARY VIDEO:
    “KIDNAPPING IN ARIZONA” at http://tinyurl.com/cb5eydt

    The state-sanctioned kidnapping of Sara Ybarra-Johnson’s three sons under color of law – human trafficking of children for profit!

    Forensic investigator, expert witness and documentary filmmaker, Zed McLarnon, and http://www.JusticeforFamilies.us expose Arizona’s kidnap for profit racketeering scheme with supporting Exhibits posted at http://www.JusticeforFamilies.us/sara.html that reveal the crimes used to kidnap Sara Ybarra-Johnson’s three sons under color of law, including:
    - false allegations of abuse and perjury by Child Protective Services;
    - malicious prosecution, suppression of evidence and subornation of perjury by Attorney General Tom Horne;
    - suppression of exculpatory evidence, alteration of court documents and rulings based in fraud by over twenty state and federal judges,
    - and public defenders that refuse to submit their clients’ evidence to unlawfully remove children from parents they know to be innocent – to plunder federal funds that drive the abuse industry – the human trafficking of children for profit.

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