BY The Associated Press

State child-welfare officials say aggressive recruiting and hiring has led to a full complement of caseworkers for the first time in seven years.

The state Department of Economic Security has also hired a Phoenix police detective to oversee a new Child Protective Services investigations unit to handle the most serious child-abuse and neglect cases.

Agency officials tell the Arizona Republic that CPS staffing approached 1,100 early this month. That includes 245 people in training, 785 caseworkers in the field and 67 on the Child Abuse Hotline.

DES spokeswoman Tasya Peterson says that's above the 1,043 budgeted positions to account for turnover.

Turnover is a persistent problem at child-welfare agencies and averages above 20 percent a year nationally. Arizona's August staffing report showed turnover was at 31 percent a year.