CPS Needs Resources to Protect More Kids
State agencies recently submitted their budget requests for next fiscal year to Governor Brewer for her review and consideration. These requests form the foundation of budget proposals and negotiations by the Governor and legislators. The budget policies for the year will make a difference in the daily lives of children growing up in Arizona now and will shape the outcome of children’s health, education, and security for many years to come.
All Arizonans share the goal of protecting children from abuse and neglect. Here we share highlights of the budget request for Child Protective Services. Look for information about other state budgets in the weeks to come.
The Department of Economic Security has requested an additional $85 million in state General Fund resources. Of that amount, $54 million is an increase for Child Protective Services to respond to the growing number of reports of abuse and neglect and the skyrocketing number of children living in foster care. The number of children in foster care has increased 37% since October 2009.
Children’s Action Alliance strongly supports the request for additional staff and resources. We are also concerned about the growing gap in prevention services and services to keep children safe in their own homes. We’ll be asking every state representative and senator elected on November 6 to pay attention to these issues and respond.
DES continues to implement and explore improved procedures in CPS to protect children and eliminate wasted time and resources. With this budget request, DES clearly states that they cannot meet their mission of protecting children with current staff and resources.
The budget request includes:
- $11 million for 200 more CPS staff to maintain current workload levels
- $30 million to support more foster children in shelters, group homes, and residential treatment
- $5 million for more foster homes and higher rates for special categories, such as foster families caring for older youth
- $4 million to support more children in adoptive homes
- $4 million for Attorney General legal staff to handle CPS cases
We’ll keep you up-to-date as the budget process unfolds and let you know how you can get involved to better protect abused and neglected children. If you have any questions about the DES budget request, or if you would like a presentation to your organization, please call Karen McLaughlin at 602-266-0707 ext. 207.