Jan 30, 2014 3:03 PM by Kristi Tedesco
PHOENIX - Two-and-a-half weeks after Governor Jan Brewer called for the demise of Child Protective Services, as we know it, Kristi's Kids dissects the plan.
With the legislature's approval, child welfare will fall under new control. A new agency, the Division of Child Safety & Family Services, will be run by a new director, Charles Flanagan. The former Director of the Department of Juvenile Corrections will answer directly to Governor Brewer.
To see the Governor's executive order, to create a new child welfare agency, click here.
Among the highlights, in Governor Brewer's budget proposal:
-Shift child protection responsibilities from DES to a new State agency devoted to that purpose
-Provide $25 million for a new CPS Transition Fund to be used to separate CPS from DES
- $5.7 million in FY 2014 and $21.5 million for FY 2015 to expand the force of CPS caseworkers and support staff and alleviate a 10,000-case backlog
- $8.6 million to increase the Office of Child Welfare Investigations investigation rate to 100% in Maricopa and Pima counties
- $10 million to begin replacement of CHILDS case tracking system
Among the concerns with Governor Brewer's budget proposal, there is no funding for preventative programs, like child care subsidies. There is, however, a call for $25 million to create the new agency.
State Senator, Steve Farley tells Kristi's Kids, "What we need are case workers on the ground.. And you can do that in the same building you're in now. You don't need to move to a new building and put a new name plaque on it... And spend 25-million dollars doing it."
David Higuera, the Southern AZ Director of the Children's Action Alliance adds, "this is a big job and the governor and legislature need to make sure that this new division.. is adequately resourced and that the leadership is brought in from-- expertise from Arizona and nationally. Folks who really understand child abuse and neglect."
Nothing changes until a budget is approved, by state lawmakers. Senator Farley says, that will take a while. Meantime, there is a forum being held in Tucson for people who want to speak out about CPS.
Public Forum on CPS: Thursday, January 30th at the Tucson Jewish Community Center, 6:00-8:00pm
Stay with Kristi's Kids for the latest on child welfare reform in Arizona.