Local

Dec 7, 2012 12:19 AM by Nathan O'Neal

State cuts hit local child services agency hard

TUCSON - A local agency is cutting services as a result of state budget cuts to Child Protective Services

Aviva Children's Services announced this morning that after tomorrow it will no longer conduct supervised visits for families with kids in foster care.

In two months, CPS will also stop sending referrals to Aviva, which means a massive reduction in staff and volunteers - up to 90 percent of Aviva workers.

Volunteers at the center have described the cuts as disasterous for their program but they really do agree that it's the children who will suffer from these changes.

It hits home hard especially for parents like Diserae Young who can only see her two small children if supervised.

"I would really appreciate it if we could keep this facility because I want to be the best mom that I can be...also I want other moms to be the best mom they can be," Desirae Young told News 4 Tucson.

But thanks to a series of cuts, that won't be the case.

"The ramifications for us anyways is that most of our staff will be gone by the end of the month...and as far as the volunteer services...that too," said Michelle Rios who manages the volunteers at Aviva.

CPS said in a statement to News 4 Tucson that "While the total dollars have not reduced, the Department is looking at areas it can be more fiscally responsible." The statement continues to say that CPS is managing their services according to their budget but if they determine that there is more of a need beyond that, they will have to re-evaluate.

However, putting an end to supervised visits isn't the only thing on the chopping block. For example, the mentoring program for kids, volunteer tutors and even the internship program for local college students are all in question.

"I mean it's heartbreaking for kids that really look forward to that little break that they get while having their mentors come spend time with them," Rios said.

Rios said she doesn't understand how CPS is going to manage all that it currently does and conduct all the other services that Aviva used to provide for them.

"So really the families and kids are the ones that are really going to pay the consequences," Rios said.

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