Print Print |

Child advocates claim state budget puts children on the back burner

Private prisons, not kids, getting ‘gift’

House Passes State Budget

Sad BoyLate last night, the House of Representatives passed a state budget that leaves gaping holes for kids and families. The approved fiscal plan has no new funding for child care vouchers and does nothing to prevent child abuse and neglect. It also fails to sufficiently fund CPS staff and services so the new agency will continue to struggle to protect children and find them safe and permanent homes.

Although six Republican legislators publicly opposed the Senate budget because it lacked funding for child care assistance and CPS, five of them voted for the final package with only minor changes. Republican Ethan Orr from Tucson and all Democratic Representatives voted NO on the budget. The state fiscal plan goes back to the Senate on Monday for them to consider the changes made in the House.  

Click here to see our budget chart comparing Governor Brewer’s budget proposal with the Senate and House budgets.

Special thanks to Representative Kate Brophy McGee and Debbie McCune Davis who both serve on the CPS Legislative Oversight Committee and Governor Brewer’s CPS work group. Both of these representatives have been outstanding champions for children, focusing on the real life needs for funding for CPS and child care with the media and their colleagues. Representative Kate Brophy McGee negotiated support for a special budget amendment adopted by Republicans and Democrats in the House recognizing that the budget is not yet complete for child safety. The amendment states the intent of the legislature to reexamine the budget for the new Child Safety and Family Services agency and “provide resources to meet its needs” after the Governor’s work group develops its recommendations.  Although there is no clear time line or plan for this, CAA is hearing that the legislature may take up this issue later this session or that Governor Brewer may call a special session in May or June.

After all of the political outrage and pronouncements since November about the 6,500 uninvestigated CPS cases, our lawmakers have endorsed a budget that does NOTHING to prevent child abuse and neglect.  If this is the final budget, it repeats the same mistakes that created the current child safety crisis: it sets the new agency up for failure and it ignores many children who need help.

Advocates For Child Welfare Say Budget Allocations Are Not Enough

Zero Hour for Children in State Budget Battle

Advocates, providers telling Americans to look beyond price when choosing plan

House Republicans adjourn without deal on Arizona budget

What About CPS?

Child advocacy groups call for more funding

Kids Under Threat in the Budget Negotiations – ACT NOW!

Just when you thought it was safe to believe that state Representatives would stop a budget bill that’s bad for kids…

Please urge your state representatives today to vote no on the Senate budget and to support amendments that make children a top priority.

send your message kidBudget negotiations are at a critical point – your state representatives are key votes that can make a difference in how this budget turns out for kids.

Please call your state representatives (click here to learn who your Representatives are and here for a list of their phone numbers) or click here to send an email.

BACKGROUND

After just four days of consideration, the State Senate approved a budget proposal last week on a party line vote. Click here to see the budget chart. We expect the House of Representatives to debate and vote on this same budget proposal today and tomorrow. Like in the Senate, there will be virtually no time or opportunity for public input to shape this critical policy. Despite amendments, the Senate budget plan leaves gaping holes for Arizona children and families:

• TOO LITTLE funding to pay for family foster homes or emergency and residential placements for the expected number of children in foster care.
• NO new funding for child care subsidies to prevent situations of child neglect for working parents earning low incomes.
• TOO LITTLE funding to hire critical CPS staff, so caseloads will continue to be far too high to assure the safety, well-being and permanency of children.
• TOO LITTLE funding for staff in the Office of Child Welfare Investigations, so they will not be able to investigate all reports of child abuse and neglect involving criminal conduct.
• TOO LITTLE funding to replace the CHILDS computer data system for CPS. The state can’t afford to wait five years for a functioning data system.

Please urge your state representatives today to vote no on the Senate budget and to support amendments that make children a top priority.