PHOENIX (AP) — The director of Arizona's child welfare system says thousands of child abuse hotline reports have not been investigated in recent years, and it's unknown if those children are still at risk of abuse.

Department of Economic Security Director Clarence Carter said Thursday the cases were misclassified as not requiring investigations beginning in 2009. The number of cases rapidly escalated since January as caseloads increased as a new hotline process was put in place.

Carter says there are about 6,000 cases that will need review. At least 125 cases already have been identified where children subsequently became the subject of child abuse investigations.

Arizona's Child Protective Services department has been one of Gov. Jan Brewer's major priorities, and Carter says she was livid at the news.