9OYS Investigation

"They're not being honest": CPS voicemail message pokes holes in agency's public statements

CREATED Dec. 13, 2012 - UPDATED: Dec. 14, 2012

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  • In the voicemail, the caseworker says, "...wanted to let you know there's a big agency wide problem with visits...all of our contracting agencies are ending their contracts with us."

  • CPS has been under intense media scrutiny in recent months.

  • Agencies like Aviva are being blamed for the supervised visits being cut. But according to Aviva, it's actually CPS who told them and 10 other agencies in Pima County to stop supervised visits.

Reporter: Marcelino Benito

Web Producer: Mekita Rivas

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Few things are colder than keeping kids away from their parents who have a right to see them. That's exactly what appears to be happening in Arizona right now. CPS maintains these cuts aren't really cuts at all and aren't impacting service.

"I miss my family. I miss my family and I miss my baby."

They're the words of a mother doing what she can to get her baby daughter back. She asked 9OYS not to reveal her name fearing retaliation from CPS, the agency she says is being dishonest.

"I'm angry that they talk about being honest, that's a big thing with them. Be honest, be honest, and they're not being honest," she said.

And she has the proof to back up those claims, a voice-mail from her CPS caseworker, left on her phone.

The caseworker says, "Wanted to let you know there's a big agency wide problem with visits, umm all of our contracting agencies are ending their contracts with us."

The caseworker puts the blame on agencies like Aviva, but according to Aviva it's actually CPS who told them and 10 other agencies in Pima County to stop supervised visits.

Back on December 7th, CPS administrators told 9OYS "nothing's changed" when it came to supervised visits. Administrator Deb Harper went as far as saying, "I think there's miscommunication that we're stopping all visitations."

But the voice-mail goes on to say, "So there's going to be no more supervised visitation at all. We're going to have to work it out on our own."

A direct contradiction to what CPS had been telling 9OYS all along.

"They're misleading the public," this mother said. "I don't think any of us should have our visits cut if we're doing what CPS is asking. We should be allowed to spend time with our kids whether it's 2, 4, 6, or 10 hours. We should see our children."

But the CPS contradictions don't end there. This mother is court ordered to see her child three times a week. This is what CPS told 9OYS about that.

"The department is mandated to meet court orders," Harper said.

But the reality is CPS is violating those court orders and the voice-mail proves it once more.

"Starting this Saturday, this will be your only visit starting this week. There's just nothing we can do right now. Hopefully something gets figured out. I'm not sure when, so please be patient."

As Christmas approaches, patience is wearing thin. How can CPS just cut back visits, despite standing court orders. Parents don't understand why CPS says one thing, but does another even in the face of mounting media scrutiny.

"They're above the law," this mother said. "They make the rules and that's not fair."

So for now, her child's toys go unplayed with, a vivid reminder she will be seeing her daughter less. The family reunion they've been working so hard to achieve, delayed.

"The visits for us were huge," she said. "We looked forward to them, and now they're gone and my daughter is the one paying the ultimate price."

9OYS reached out to CPS for the last two days to request an interview. That request was not granted. But they did send us a short response, maintaining CPS will not violate any court orders. They also asked for the name of the woman who came to 9OYS so they could correct the problem. That woman did not want us to pass on her name. She says she just doesn't trust CPS, so 9OYS didn't.