CAA heard at Legislative Hearing on Department of Child Safety

Yesterday, lawmakers from the Senate and House’s Health and Human Services Committees debated whether and for how long the Department of Child Safety should be allowed to continue, as part of the agency’s sunset review. While authorized to recommend continuation for up to 10 years, the Committee voted yesterday to endorse continuation for just 4 years, with two members voting against the continuing of DCS at all.

Children’s Action Alliance provided public comment in support of continuation, noting the progress the agency has made since its inception 10 years ago in clearing a significant backlog of investigations, increasing supports for kinship foster parents, and strengthening services for young people as they transition from foster care to independence. CAA also acknowledged that there is much work to be done. CAA’s child welfare priorities include:  

Increasing transparency and accountability to improve the Department’s performance of its duties to children and families;

Reducing Arizona’s over-reliance on congregate care placements and prioritizing family based settings for children;

Achieving full financial equity for foster children placed with kinship caregivers and offering supports to informal kinship caregivers who play a vital role in keeping Arizona’s children safe and out of the foster care system; and

Addressing the over-representation of Black and Native American children and families in Arizona’s child welfare system.

The mission of DCS has consequential impacts for children and families in Arizona. The creation of the stand-alone child welfare agency 10 years ago enhanced the state’s ability to safeguard children and prevent abuse and neglect. Continuing the Department of Child Safety as an agency is important, and working with a sense of urgency to do better is critical to advancing the safety and wellbeing of children and families in Arizona.

View our letter to the committee, here.

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