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New CPS investigative chief spells out priorities

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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

The director of Arizona's troubled Child Protective Services wants to restore the agency's image. To meet that goal he has brought in a new chief investigator who has a new set of priorities.

The nearly 400 field investigators employed by CPS will now take orders from a former Gilbert police officer and expert in child abuse and prevention issues.

"Hopefully, I bring the ability to form those relationships throughout the state. With law enforcement agencies, with hospitals, with school districts," said newly hired Rob Bell.

Bell joined CPS on Monday from the Childhelp Children's Center of Arizona.

He was part of the CARE team responsible for bringing resolution to the thousands of CPS cases that fell between the cracks.

Bell told CBS 5 News that changing the agency culture from solitary and stand-alone to one of sharing information will ultimately benefit Arizona kids in need.

"We haven't necessarily been open and sharing during investigations and we've done it the CPS way, because that's the CPS way of doing it. I think what we're seeing now is that's no longer a good enough answer," Bell said.

Despite being on the job just four full days, Bell said he already has suggestions on how the agency can improve and quantify those results.

A big goal, he says, is to jointly investigate child abuse and neglect cases with local police departments and to track how often that is done.

Additionally, Bell said he would like to see more utilization by investigators of child advocacy centers as a way to improve the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the agency.

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