Arizona’s child-welfare agency has discovered a computer glitch that officials say kept public records from parents, lawyers and others for more than 15 years, a malfunction that could have led to children being wrongly removed and prevented caregivers from supporting civil claims against the state.
“If a case got to the wrong result because information wasn’t disclosed, that’s a big, big problem,” said Mark Kennedy, who has represented about 400 parents over the past three years. “To me, it’s pretty significant when CPS says we’re going to contact 21,000 lawyers. That’s like saying, ‘Start searching your case files because there may be some problems out there.’ “
The top official at the state laboratory that mishandled drug samples has resigned, and another lab executive has been fired, state law enforcement and health authorities announced Thursday, the latest development in an unfolding scandal.f
The lab officials failed to detect obvious signs of problems with a chemist’s work involving drug samples from criminal cases, state executives said at a Beacon Hill press conference. They compounded that error by making the “poor decision” to wait six months to alert the state’s public health commissioner once problems were identified, said Dr. JudyAnn Bigby, secretary of health and human services in the Patrick administration . . .
The chemist, who worked at the Jamaica Plain lab from 2003 until she quit in March, handled 60,000 samples, potentially imperiling 34,000 criminal cases. Officials have not publicly named the chemist, but authorities familiar with the investigation identified her as Annie Dookhan.
Problems with the chemist were discovered in June 2011, according to state officials, but lab directors did not bring those issues to the attention of Public Health Commissioner John Auerbach until December.
Here’s how we can make this sort of thing less common.