PHOENIX (AP) -- The chief of Arizona's child welfare system calls it a "cause for grave alarm."
About 6,000 cases of suspected child abuse or neglect that were reported to a statewide hotline over the past four years were never investigated. Officials say a team managing the heavy workload at Child Protective Services improperly designated the cases as not requiring investigations, as they tried to put a focus on the most severe cases.
Under state law, all reports coming in to the hotline must be investigated. Officials say all the cases will be reviewed, but at least 125 already have been identified in which children were later alleged to have been abused. The agency's chief of child welfare investigations says no fatalities have been found.
No one has been disciplined so far, but an investigation is underway. Gov. Jan Brewer says: "There must be accountability."