- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 16, 2016

PHOENIX (AP) - Arizona’s child welfare agency isn’t the only state government department that’s facing a backlog in its work.

The Arizona Capitol Times reports (http://bit.ly/1PONFWE) that inspections for nearly half the X-ray facilities in the state are overdue, repairs on state highways have gone undone, and cases involving teacher misconduct and elderly abuse have gone untouched.

A more recent backlog to gain attention is rape kit testing, which Gov. Doug Ducey has made a priority to make current.

Auditors found in September that the agency responsible for inspecting X-ray machines was overdue on inspections of nearly half the state’s X-ray facilities, a problem Arizona’s auditor general said puts the public at risk.

Also in September, the auditor stated in a report on the Arizona Department of Transportation that is was falling behind on road maintenance projects because of competing construction costs.

The consequence is an estimated $1.5 billion in extra car repairs Arizona residents pay each year, the report stated.

The state faces a heavy backlog in its child abuse and neglect cases, which stand at roughly 13,000, and haven’t had any work done on them in the past two months.

The public became aware of it when it was discovered in late 2013 that some caseworkers decided not to investigate about 6,500 reports into the child abuse hotline as a way to lessen the workload.

The backlog has continued to be tough to handle despite millions of dollars appropriated for the problem and a revamping of the child welfare system. The Department of Child Safety is asking lawmakers to give the agency flexibility over which cases to investigate.

Agency officials tout that the inactive case backlog has declined for the past several months, although not yet below the figure in 2014.

Melanie Chesney, deputy auditor general, said there are myriad reasons agencies fall behind in their work.

Sometimes it’s inefficient processes in place or a lack of policies and procedures to guide those processes. Other times it’s a lack of adequate training, and there are times when managers aren’t monitoring the work.

Chesney said sometimes the performance measures are lacking or the right or meaningful measures aren’t in place. In some cases, Chesney says there is a lack of resources to get the job done.

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Information from: Arizona Capitol Times, http://www.arizonacapitoltimes.com

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