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New Report on DCS

Last week the Arizona Auditor General released an independent review of the Department of Child Safety conducted by The Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago. Chapin Hall reviewed 9 basic functions of the child safety system and found 7 to be at high risk for blocking success – including the lack of preventive services, few pathways of care, and weak services to link children with permanent homes.

Report: Arizona Department of Child Safety Independent Review by Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago

The report notes a lack of clarity for the agency. It describes numerous operational ambiguities that lead to inconsistent decision making and contribute to children entering foster care and staying away from a permanent family longer and longer. The report affirms the widespread observation that the severe loss of both prevention and response resources due to budget cuts continues to have a dangerous impact on children and families. The report recommends a variety of actions going forward, including:child crying

  • Establish and use clear safety assessment protocols and better standardize processes at the hotline and investigations
  • Support Healthy Families Arizona
  • Install other in-home services to meet the needs of families that do not require foster care
  • Increase the number of attorneys and examine the payment strategies to improve legal representation for children
  • Continue to increase the size of the work force
  • Reduce entries into foster care and decrease the time until permanency
  • Develop key outcome goals and report metrics on progress toward those goals
  • Promote regular communication and engagement with foster parents, birth parents, foster youth, and advocacy communities
  • Partner with law enforcement in ways that identify family needs without criminalizing parents

Children’s Action Alliance calls on Governor Ducey to take leadership on these steps – for the Department of Child Safety and beyond. The new report makes absolutely clear that simply recruiting more foster families and more volunteers alone will not fix the problems in the system or achieve our goals for child safety.

Click here for CAA’s essential DCS charts and graphs.

2 Responses to “New Report on DCS”

  1. Carol Coghlan Carter says:

    A change in the institutional attitude that families need to be separated in order to be repaired would go such a long way toward improving outcomes. Offering of voluntary services, in-home dependencies, safety plans to make removal unnecessary — these options need to be seriously contemplated in many more cases.

  2. Laura Robinson says:

    The case load for many DCS workers has risen to un-manageable levels. There needs to be more workers hired by the agency so that case managers are not needing to spend their weekends at the DCS offices to “catch up”. They need the weekends to “refresh” themselves from this highly stressful job.
    I agree ther are many other areas in this industry needing positive changes to improve the system .

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