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Tough Work on Child Protection Begins Today

In her State of the State address today, Governor Brewer recognized that Arizona must do better to protect children from abuse and neglect. She made a dramatic announcement about signing an Executive Order making Child Protective Services an independent agency reporting directly to her. She immediately pointed out that she will work together with the state legislature on permanent structural and operational reforms that are desperately needed.

Today’s announcement is an important signal that Governor Brewer is committed to new leadership and meaningful change. However, an organizational restructuring in and of itself does nothing to protect children. The results Arizonans expect depend on the leadership, policies, funding, and systems that combine to change children’s lives. Children’s Action Alliance, parents, and community leaders across the state look forward to working with the Governor and state legislators to develop the kind of CPS staff support, manageable caseloads, partnerships with foster parents and community groups, and investments in family support that will lead to success for child protection. Long term success for Arizona means rebuilding help for families so that fewer children ever need CPS at all.

While Governor Brewer today said nothing about resources for child safety, she did announce her support for additional tax breaks for certain businesses. We urge lawmakers to have a robust and rigorous discussion about all proposed fiscal policies to examine whether any new tax cuts will bring the results they promise and what impact they will have on future resources for Child Protective Services and education.

Click here for a fact sheet on the Governor’s plan.

One Response to “Tough Work on Child Protection Begins Today”

  1. Karen Voyer-Caravona says:

    I just finished reading the transcript from the Dec. 3, 2013 public meeting. Quite a lot to take in but none of it a surprise so I am at a loss to understand the outrage coming from the Governor’s office and the Republican Legislature. Despite my professional experience as a masters level therapist working in incest family treatment and child advocacy, my understanding of the CPS in the state of Arizona (and AZ is certainly not alone in its decision to pay lip service to child welfare), prevented me from following the child welfare tract in my current MSW program even though my education would have been paid for and a generous stipend provided during internship. What healthy person would want to work under those conditions where on the cheap thinking trumps safety and protection?

    After reading the closing remarks by Sen. Landrum-Taylor and Reps. McCune-Davis and Brophy-McGee, I was struck that only McCune-Davis gave a succinct description of the testimony and identified key points repeatedly made by the dozens of people who spoke. Although I have been told the Landrum-Taylor and Brophy-McGee are dedicated to child welfare, how is it that their dedication does not extend to acknowledging, as did McCune-Davis, cost money and that cutting services (aka funding) does not promote the very policies found within DES’s own policies manual? The speakers stated what we all know over and over again, the system is not adequately funded; it needs more money. Prevention, parent aids, stabilization and mental health service and programs, highly skilled and committed caseworkers, training and communication, manageable caseloads and retention of staff all cost money. Moving stuff around on the plate does and agreeing that the system is broken does not solve the problem. Separating CPS from DHS does absolutely noting. Not making the investments today will cost even more, very likely in the form of more horrible stories for Laurie Roberts to write about and more caseworkers getting thrown under the bus for not being able to do the impossible under underfunded conditions. Chuck Jones, one of the final speakers, raised some very good points about where are fiscal priorities are in this state and they are all about anti-tax ideology. Please help the public and our elected leaders connect the dots between taxes and services or the lack of them.

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