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Help Grandparents who are Raising their Grandkids!

SB 1090, which has already passed the Senate, should be up for a full House vote in 3rd Read soon. Grandparents and great-grandparents across this state need you to urge your two state representatives to vote YES.

SB 1090 provides a monthly $75 stipend to eligible grandparents and great-grandparents raising their grandchildren who have incomes below 200% of the federal poverty level and are not receiving foster care payments or TANF cash assistance. This small stiped can make a big difference for grandfamilies who are facing unique challenges to raise a child in their retirement years. Many grandfamiles have been cut off from any financial assistance since the 2010 budget cuts, so SB 1090 would restore much needed funding.

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Please contact your representatives and ask them to move this bill forward so that grandfamilies can get the support they need.

 

 

 

Arizona KAET’s Horizon – CPS Funding

Watch Campaign Contribution & Solar Energy & CPS Funding on PBS. See more from Arizona Horizon.

A Return on your Investment

As we file our income taxes today, CAA wants to remind you that, through your tax payments, you are investing in Arizona’s children and families. So, as you sign on the bottom line of the AZ Form 140, know that:

• 8 cents of every dollar you pay funds in-state university and community college education
• 38 cents of every dollar funds K-12 public and charter schools
• 7 cents of every dollar supports foster care, adoptive families and individuals with developmental disabilities
• 15 cents of every dollar funds health care for adults, children and seniors

We hope this message eases your tax pain – and lets you know that you are making our communities better places for children and families.

Congratulations to our Champions for Children

Thank you to the supporters who joined us on on the 2nd and the 9th to honor the 2013 Champions for Children: Dr. Eve Shapiro, and Kris and Joe Jacober.

Kris and Joe Jacober with Award smallHusband and wife team, Kris and Joe Jacober (pictured left), were awarded the 2013 Phoenix Champions for Children award on Tuesday at a wonderful reception hosted by Susan and Richard Goldsmith. Kris and Joe were recognized for their outstanding work on behalf of foster children and foster parents in Arizona.

On April 2nd, Dr. Eve Shapiro was awarded with the 2013 Tucson Champion for Children for her commitment to healthy children and families. The evening program was co-sponsored by the Ohio Children’s Foundation, Child & Family Resources (CFR), and Northwest Medical Center, and special speakers included Congressman Ron Barber and the Honorable Jaime Gutierrez, who has retired from the CAA Board of Directors after 13 years of service.

Shapiro, Jacks and Naimark smallIn the photo (left to right) honoree Dr. Eve Shapiro; CAA Director of Southern Arizona, Penelope Jacks; and CAA President and CEO, Dana Wolfe Naimark.

Do you know an outstanding Champion for Children? CAA is accepting recommendations for future honorees. Phoenix Champions are awarded every year; Tucson Champions are awarded every other year. Visit the CAA website for a description of the award and past honorees. Email your suggestions to akobeta@azchildren.org.

CHILD SAFETY IN LEGISLATURE’S HANDS WITH FY 2014 BUDGET VOTE

By Dana Wolfe Naimark, President and CEO, Children’s Action Alliance

Dana_Wolfe_NaimarkThe 2013 legislative session began with a unanimous vote in the House and the Senate to appropriate emergency funding for additional Child Protective Services staff. With that vote, lawmakers affirmed child safety as a top priority and recognized that the dramatic growth in the number of reports of child abuse and neglect and the number of children living in foster care demand increased capacity to respond.

But the need for action doesn’t end there. Lawmakers hold the safety of thousands of children in their hands as the budget negotiations heat up for fiscal year 2014.

The CPS system is so overwhelmed that basic steps for child safety take far too long or don’t happen at all. Caseloads for the CPS staff are double what they should be. Children wait in foster care while their parents wait for substance abuse treatment. Even with a special SWAT team in continuous operation, thousands of investigations stay open for months on end and cases stall while children wait. Foster parents struggle to get attention from CPS caseworkers and have to fight for basic help for the children they care for. Children sleep in CPS offices because there aren’t enough foster families to take them home.

The facts make it clear that the $77 million proposed by Governor Brewer for the CPS budget for next year is the bare minimum needed for child safety. This funding pays for additional CPS staff, child care for abused and neglected children, substance abuse treatment so parents can become safe and responsible, foster care and adoption for more children, and legal costs to move children into permanent homes.

Taxpayers clearly expect accountability and scrutiny for state spending to improve children’s safety. The Department of Economic Security has already streamlined procedures, improved staff recruitment, and integrated business models into their operations to make the work of CPS more efficient. But those strategies are simply and clearly not enough to deal with a 33% rise in the number of reports of abuse and neglect and a 34% rise in the number of children living in foster care. There are now more than 14,000 children living in foster care – enough to fill the seats in Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum! The resources have to increase to protect more children.

The goal of Child Protective Services is to link each child with a safe and permanent family. Governor Brewer’s budget recognizes that CPS staffing levels are only one part of the system capacity. Adding funding for additional CPS staff without corresponding funding for parent support and foster care and adoption is like adding more police officers without adding more patrol cars and radios. The new officers – like the new CPS staff — might be able to answer the phone, but they can’t do their jobs to protect safety without the necessary tools.

Each year, the state budget reflects our common commitments to Arizona. For 2014, lawmakers should pass a state budget that closes glaring gaps in our child safety system. There is no commitment more important than that.

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Speak Up for Abused and Neglected Kids…

The surge in children suffering from neglect and the number of children in foster care has created glaring gaps in Arizona’s child safety system. New funding is needed to expand the system’s capacity.

The Governor’s budget proposal for FY14 is the minimum needed for child safety. Budget negotiations are just beginning to heat up between the Governor and the legislature and some legislators are saying they don’t think CPS should get the full amount.

send your message kidYour senator and representatives need to hear from you about the critical need for CPS funding.

Please send an email today asking your lawmakers to support Governor Brewer’s $77.6 million budget for child safety. This includes both CPS staffing and the tools necessary to respond in the most basic, fundamental way to the growing number of neglected children and children in foster care.

Click here for more information on the Governor’s budget for child safety.

More help available for grandparents raising grandkids

Interactive County Health Rankings Released

rwj county health rankings 2013A new interactive ranking of counties’ health across the US was released recently by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Nationally, the data show that child poverty has not improved since 2000, with more than one in five children living in poverty, while Arizona ranks even higher at 27%. The good news is violent crime has decreased nationally by almost half over the last two decades. The report emphasizes healthy behaviors, showing that life expectancy is less in counties with the highest rates of smoking, teen births, and physical inactivity. While the small samples limit the data for rural counties, it is clear that rural and low-income counties face greater health challenges with less access to care, higher teen birth rates, and lower education levels. See how Arizona breaks down by county here.

Clearing the Path for Common Core Evaluation

The business and education communities agree that Arizona’s schools and students need the legislature to take action to clear the path for student learning evaluations. HB 2047 would authorize replacing the AIMS test with an improved evaluation process aligned with the new statewide Common Core standards. HB 2047 is supported by the State Board of Education and received bipartisan support in the House, where it passed last month by a vote of 50 – 9 but it has not moved in the Senate. Please contact Senate Education Chair, Kimberly Yee at kyee@azleg.gov, to ask her to hear HB 2047.

Help for Grandparents Raising their Grandkids

Grandmother and Granddaughter BakingThanks to the tireless advocacy efforts of the Arizona Grandparent Ambassadors and supporters like you, CAA is pleased to report that SB 1090 passed unanimously yesterday in the House Reform and Human Services Committee. This legislation would provide a monthly $75 stipend to eligible grandparents and great-grandparents raising their grandchildren who have incomes below 200% of the federal poverty level and are not receiving foster care payments or TANF cash assistance.  The next step for the bill is a hearing in the House Appropriations Committee.