ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – Four New Mexico child welfare workers have been placed on leave in connection with the handling of a case involving a 7-year-old girl who authorities say was forced into prostitution and pickpocketing.

The Albuquerque Journal reports state Children, Youth and Families Department officials confirmed Monday that four case workers in the child protective division were placed on paid administrative leave while the case is investigated.

According to court records, the state attorney general’s office indicated police and state child welfare workers had multiple encounters with the girl’s family but the children were not removed.

Agency Secretary Monique Jacobson said last week that she launched an internal investigation into how the department handled the case.

The girl’s parents were arrested last week. The children are now in state custody.

Information from: Albuquerque Journal, http://www.abqjournal.com

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