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Power to the Grandparents

Nearly 100 grandparents raising their grandchildren made it out to Casa Grande last Saturday, from as far away as Flagstaff and despite the heavy rains, to participate in the Second Annual Arizona Grandparent Ambassadors Community Outreach & Advocacy Summit.

For many, the event, sponsored by the Arizona Grandparent Ambassadors, gave them the knowledge that they were not alone in their efforts and could count on the support of others to help them through the more challenging times. They also used this opportunity to brainstorm about strategies to help them keep their families together.

Many thanks to state Senator Leah Landrum-Taylor and state Representative Frank Pratt who participated in the Summit and engaged in thoughtful discussion about potential policy developments.

Click here for news coverage of the event.

Legislature Fast Tracks Some CPS Funding

Both the House and the Senate Appropriations Committees passed an emergency appropriation to add 50 Child Protective Services caseworkers, supervisors and support staff in the current fiscal year. The bills (SB 1249 and HB 2502) are on a fast track, and it is likely the Governor will sign the emergency funding into law by the end of the week.

The legislation also requires the Department of Economic Security to report monthly on several accountability measures including the number of new and closed cases, worker caseloads, and detailed information regarding expenditures. The bills do not include the $10.4 million for Children Support Services which the Governor proposed, but discussion will continue about funding for these services.

CAA is encouraged by the leadership of Governor Brewer and the House and Senate on this emergency funding bill, and the bipartisan efforts to move this appropriation forward so quickly. This is a positive first step to making sure our children are safe. Beth Rosenberg, CAA Director of Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice Policy, and I presented yesterday to the House Democratic Caucus on other steps lawmakers can take to improve care for abused and neglected children. CAA will continue to be a voice throughout this legislative session.

Child advocacy group: Focus CPS improvements on prevention

History of CPS Presentation

Pages from Presentation on CPS, 1-29-13Beth Rosenberg, CAA Director of Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice Policy, and CAA President and CEO, Dana Wolfe Naimark, presented to the House Democratic Caucus on other steps lawmakers can take to improve care for abused and neglected children.

Here’s the power point of the presentation.

CPS Legislation We’re Tracking

In the two weeks since the start of the 2013 legislative session, there have already been several bills filed that would affect vulnerable children and families. Visit the CAA website for more information on bills affecting CPS, children in foster care, and grandparents raising their grandchildren.

CAA was pleased that SB 1090 pass the Senate Health and Human Services Committee unanimously last week. Sponsored by Senator Leah Landrum-Taylor, SB 1090 would provide a monthly $75 stipend to children who are being raised by their grandparents or great grandparents after being removed from their parents by CPS. The stipend is restricted to grandfamilies who have low incomes and are not getting other financial assistance. The next step for the bill is to get a hearing in the Senate Appropriations Committee with Chairman Don Shooter. We’ll keep you up-to-date with action steps.

HB 2074 is a bill sponsored by Representative Warren Petersen relating to foster families. The bill requires that prospective foster families be licensed within fourteen days if they have high incomes and high credit scores and have been married for ten years and raised a child. Children’s Action Alliance opposes the bill in its current form because it would be impossible to verify the safety of a foster home and train the foster parents in just two weeks. HB 2074 is scheduled to be heard in the Reform and Human Services Committee on Thursday, Jan 31 at 9:00 am in room HHR 1.

The other side: Mickelson should pay up

Golfer Phil Mickelson is complaining because his California taxes are going up. He takes home millions of dollars a year, but that is just not enough. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see our most prosperous citizens stand up for fairness in our tax code and for what is best for the American economy in the long run?

Read the entire article here.

Who are Arizona’s Grandfamilies?

This Saturday, the Arizona Grandparent Ambassadors is hosting the 2nd Annual Arizona Grandparent Ambassadors Community Outreach and Advocacy Summit for grandparents who are raising their grandchildren.

DemographicsIf you haven’t already registered to attend, you can do so here. It’s a free day-long forum that explores the challenges facing grandparents who are raising their grandchildren and offers the opportunity to learn about some solutions and supports available. Childcare and lunch will be provided at no cost and transportation assistance is available on request.

There are more than 60,000 children in Arizona today being raised by their grandparents or other relative for part of their childhoods.

Click here to learn more about the unique status of grandparent caregivers in our state

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Who are Arizona’s Grandfamilies?

DemographicsThere are about 72,000 children in Arizona today being raised by their grandparents or other relative for part of their childhoods. Click here to learn more about the unique status of grandparent caregivers in our states

Brewer’s Budget Plan: Highlights for Kids and Families

Pages from Brewer_budget_1-18-13Governor Brewer’s budget priorities match the priorities of Arizona voters, focusing on child safety, health care coverage, and K-12 education funding.

Click here to read a CAA summary of Brewer’s budget proposals.

Brewer’s Budget Plan: Highlights for Kids and Families

Late today Governor Brewer released her budget proposal for the next fiscal year*. Her budget priorities match the priorities of Arizona voters, focusing on child safety, health care coverage, and K-12 education funding.

Her budget recognizes the current crisis in Child Protective Services and calls for $15 million in an emergency appropriation for 50 new CPS staff and the services foster children need. For next year, her budget includes 150 additional CPS staff and $49 million to pay for the growing number of children in foster care. This proposal is an excellent foundation for working with state legislators to both protect children who come into the CPS system and reduce the number of children who need CPS in the future.

Brewer proposes a new health provider assessment to pay for health coverage for more adults which will strengthen the health care system and bring $1.6 billion in matching funds into our state economy. The budget also includes limited funding for select priorities. Additionally, there are no tax increases or decreases in the budget, no more fund sweeps or spending cuts, no dipping into the Rainy Day Fund, and $40 million to pay down the state’s debt.

We’re excited to begin working with Governor Brewer, state legislators, and our partners and supporters across the state on a budget that moves forward on the priorities that matter most to Arizona families: health, education and security.

Click here to read a CAA summary of Brewer’s budget proposals.

* The 2014 Fiscal Year is July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014.