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DEPARTMENT OF CHILD SAFETY AUDIT REPORT WILL BE RELEASED TODAY

Independent Audit Highlights Problems At Arizona Department Of Child Safety

Arizona child-safety agency struggles with staff turnover, rising child removals

SCOTUS: 127k Arizonans Will Keep Their Health Insurance

girl doctorToday is a great day for the more than six million Americans and 127,000 Arizona adults and children who the Supreme Court ruled could keep their health insurance with the help of federal tax subsidies.

This decision is especially important for 23,000 Arizona children who have health insurance through the Marketplace. Children can maintain their coverage without any breaks in the continuity of care needed for kids to grow up healthy and succeed in school.

Unfortunately, health coverage continues to be out of reach for almost 200,000 Arizona kids. Reducing the number of uninsured children will strengthen the economy while improving health and educational outcomes of children in Arizona.

Find the Summer Meals Location Nearest You

Pages from CEO Report FRAC CBPP cropped 600pxThe Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is a U.S. Department of Agriculture Child Nutrition Program established to ensure that low-income children, ages 18 and younger, continue to receive nutritious meals when school is not in session. Free meals, that meet Federal nutrition guidelines, are provided to all children at approved SFSP sites in areas with significant concentrations of low-income children by schools, private non-profits and local or county governments.

To find the location nearest you that serves Summer Meals, click here. You’ll find a map with each location and all the relevant information about when the meals are served.

DCS…what works to help families in need

Sad BoySince the new Department of Child Safety (DCS) was created one year ago, the number of children living in foster care has continued to grow far faster than the number of foster families or the number of staff able to handle their cases. An additional 1,300 children in foster care are overwhelming the system and putting child safety at risk. Removing children from their homes is severely traumatizing – especially when we can’t offer them stability. The evidence is clear that while foster care is necessary in severe cases of abuse and neglect, children have better future results if they remain at home with support and services.

At the second anniversary of DCS, Arizona will be able to celebrate greater safety for children along with securing their well-being and permanency if we make it a priority to safely reduce the number of children in foster care. We know what works: prevention, parent mentoring, in-home services, mental health and child care assistance, and family support. Governor Ducey recognized this opportunity by declaring last Saturday “Family Reunification Day” and celebrating the success of families who got their children back from foster care through their commitment and through focused support from their own extended family, DCS, the courts, and their communities.

Arizona can build on these successes with focus and leadership.

  • Community agencies that serve families through contracts with DCS should expand their capacity to offer in-home services.
  • Media and community leaders should insist on lower numbers of children in foster care.
  • DCS must strengthen supports for grandparents and other relatives who step up to care for children needing foster care.
  • Religious congregations and philanthropy should to step up to support families before they ever need foster care in the first place.
  • State legislators must enhance funding and support in-home services and prevention and family support.
  • DCS Director Greg McKay must give his agency a clear mandate and the management and service tools DCS staff need to safely reduce the number of children living away from their families.

And Governor Ducey must take responsibility for moving this agency out of the depths of crisis and chaos. His leadership can help children in those most dangerous situations find loving parents in foster care and adoption. But that alone will only lead to a bigger DCS system. Governor Ducey can truly strengthen child safety with services that support parents, prevent abuse and neglect, and give struggling families the chance to succeed.

Child safety should be more important than prisons

Postcards to Governor Ducey Press Conference – President and CEO Dana Naimark’s Remarks

CAA President and CEO, Dana Naimark’s Remarks to Postcards to Governor Ducey Press Conference

June 10, 2015

Click here for PDF version

THANK YOU JOHN AND THANK YOU TO THE WHOLE TEAM HERE AT EDUCARE FOR HOSTING US TODAY.

WE’RE HERE IN THE MIDDLE OF JUNE, 3 MONTHS AFTER THE STATE BUDGET WAS ADOPTED AND SIGNED, BECAUSE THE NEW FISCAL YEAR BEGINS IN JUST THREE WEEKS AND ALTHOUGH LEGISLATORS HAVE LEFT THE CAPITOL, THE IMPACT OF THEIR VOTES IS BEGINNING TO REVERBERATE IN FAMILIES, NEIGHBORHOODS, AND OUR STATE ECONOMY.

WHEN THE BUDGET WAS VOTED ON AND PASSED JUST A FEW SHORT DAYS AFTER THE PROPOSAL EMERGED FROM BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, ARIZONANS ACROSS THE STATE WERE FRUSTRATED THAT THEY DIDN’T HAVE THE CHANCE TO WEIGH IN ON THE PRIORITIES OF THE STATE. TODAY WE’RE SHARING MESSAGES TO GIVE VOICE TO THOSE PRIORITIES, TO ASK OUR ELECTED LEADERS FOR POLICIES AND BUDGETS THAT WORK BETTER FOR CHILDREN, FOR EDUCATION, FOR OUR ECONOMY AND OUR FUTURE.

WE KNOW WE NEED BETTER POLICIES AND BUDGETS BECAUSE:
• ARIZONA HAD THE STEEPEST INCREASES IN UNIVERSITY TUITION OF ANY STATE IN THE NATION, MAKING IT HARDER AND HARDER FOR ARIZONANS TO GET A COLLEGE EDUCATION
• EVERY SINGLE DAY, THE BRAND NEW DEPARTMENT OF CHILD SAFETY STRUGGLES TO MAINTAIN BASIC PROTECTIONS FOR CHILDREN, FACING A WORKLOAD THAT IS STILL BEYOND THEIR CAPACITY AND MOVING MORE AND MORE CHILDREN OUT OF THEIR FAMILIES AND INTO FOSTER CARE WITH A LOT OF TRAUMA, EXPENSE, AND DIM PROSPECTS FOR THOSE CHILDREN’S FUTURES
• STUDENTS IN ARIZONA CAN’T MEET OUR RISING EXPECTATIONS WITH SHRINKING RESOURCES WHILE THEY ARE MISSING OUT ON ARTS AND SPORTS; STRUGGLING TO LEARN WITHOUT COUNSELORS AND NURSES; AND SITTING IN CLASSROOMS CRAMMED WITH 35 OR 40 STUDENTS WITH NOT ENOUGH DESKS AND OUT OF DATE TEXTBOOKS AND COMPUTERS.
THREE IMPORTANT FISCAL DEVELOPMENTS HAVE HAPPENED SINCE THE BUDGET WAS ADOPTED.

FIRST, GOVERNOR DUCEY AND A MAJORITY OF THE LEGISLATURE PASSED MORE TAX CUTS – AFTER THEY SAID THEY HAD TO CUT EDUCATION AND HEALTH CARE BECAUSE GETTING THE BUDGET BACK INTO BALANCE WAS A TOP PRIORITY. SO, NEXT YEAR, AS NEW TAX CUTS PHASE IN, THEY WILL SAY THEY STILL DON’T HAVE ENOUGH MONEY FOR EDUCATION. THIS CONTINUES A CYCLE THAT’S BEEN REPEATED OVER AND OVER AGAIN DURING THE PAST 25 YEARS. IN FACT, IF WE HAD STOPPED CUTTING TAXES WHEN THE GREAT RECESSION BEGAN, WE COULD HAVE AVOIDED ALL OF THE CUTS TO K-12, UNIVERSITIES, COMMUNITY COLLEGES, HEALH CARE, CHILD SAFETY AND CHILD CARE THAT WERE MADE THIS YEAR.

SECOND, APRIL NOT ONLY BROUGHT SOME RAIN SHOWERS TO US IN ARIZONA, IT BROUGHT A SHOWER OF TAX REVENUES ABOVE PROJECTIONS. ENOUGH TO LEAVE OUR RAINY DAY FUND INTACT. AND ENOUGH TO SPUR A RE-EXAMINATION OF OUR PRIORITIES.

THIRD, GOVERNOR DUCEY HAS STEPPED UP AND RECOGNIZED THAT OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS NEED MORE RESOURCES. IN JUST THE PAST TWO WEEKS, HE HAS AFFIRMED THAT WHATEVER REFORMS WE AGREE ON, HOWEVER THE INFLATION LAWSUIT IS RESOLVED, HOWEVER WE CHANGE LONG TERM FUNDING FORMULAS AND ALLOCATIONS FOR CHARTER AND DISTRICT SCHOOLS, WE NEED MORE FUNDING TO REACH OUR EDUCATION GOALS. HE’S RIGHT. HE KNOWS THAT ARIZONA CAN’T MOVE AT THE SPEED OF BUSINESS WHEN WE RANK DEAD LAST IN STATE FUNDING FOR EDUCATION. THIS AFFIRMATION AND THE GOVERNOR’S PROPOSAL FOR INCREASED EDUCATION FUNDING FOR TEN YEARS JUST BEGIN TO OPEN THE DOOR TO OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL.

FOR THIS NEW OPPORTUNITY, WE THANK THE MOMS AND DADS, COLLEGE STUDENTS AND GRANDPARENTS, FOSTER PARENTS, BUSINESS LEADERS AND COMMUNITY VOLUNTEERS WHO WROTE THESE POSTCARDS, WHO RALLIED AT THE CAPITOL, WHO KEPT ALL NIGHT VIGILS IN THE GALLERY OF THE LEGISLATURE DURING BUDGET VOTES AND SINE DIE NIGHT. THE PHONE CALLS AND EMAILS TO LAWMAKERS, THE LETTERS TO THE EDITORS, THE FACEBOOK POSTS, THE EMOTIONAL COMMENTS POSTED ON AZCENTRAL – THEY HAVE OPENED THE DOOR TO THE FIRST BABY STEPS TOWARD BETTER POLICIES AND BETTER BUDGETS FOR OUR FUTURE.

THERE’S A LOT MORE WORK TO DO AND WE LOOK FORWARD TO CONTINUING THAT CONVERSATION.

Advocates hope postcards will push Governor Ducey to take action for Arizona children

Child advocacy groups call on Ducey to focus more on family, children