CPS documents revealing private info found dumped in alley - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

CPS documents revealing private information found dumped in Phoenix alley

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PHOENIX (KSAZ) -- Confidential Child Protective Services documents were found dumped in a Phoenix alley -- exposing private and sensitive information about children and parents involved in CPS investigations.

The agency is trying to figure out why a case worker's files were mishandled and exposed this way.

CPS is already under fire for not investigating 6,000 cases of child abuse and now the agency is trying to figure out how the confidential files of cases that were investigated ended up just thrown out in the trash.

Thousands of pages of CPS documents, involving dozens of children and parents -- containing the most sensitive and detailed information on cases of child abuse and neglect -- all of it left outside in a cardboard box next to a dumpster in a Phoenix alley.

The man who found it doesn't want to show his face, but he says he called FOX 10 when he realized how serious this private information was.

"Once you look at it.. besides people's social security numbers, the information is a lot more damning information than that," he said.

Looking through the thick stack of papers, it was shocking to see how much information was just left out in the open.  Along with social security numbers, phone numbers, addresses, there are medical records, psychological exams -- even photos.

And then perhaps most disturbing of all -- detailed reports of child abuse and neglect, showing a timeline of CPS case workers involvement -- all of it going back several years.

The man who found it knows how serious this breach of privacy is.

"Well they should be happy I found it and you know.. somebody else could have done something more with it," he said.

It's not clear exactly how all of this ended up left out in the open for anyone to see.

CPS statement to FOX 10:

"The Department of Economic Security is extremely concerned about this report. 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."

A representative from Child Protective Services came to the FOX 10 newsroom to pick up the documents and he promised they will work to get to the bottom of how this all happened.

The man who originally found the documents in the alley says he gave them to us in light of the recent CPS controversy involving uninvestigated cases.  He wanted to make sure this issue was given attention and something was done about it.

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