Arizona Child Welfare Agency Overhaul
An independent team, CARE, has been named by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer to head the complete overhaul of the Arizona child welfare agency and to focus on the goal of child safety. After the November revelation that 6,500 neglect cases had been overlooked and countless phone calls never investigated by the Arizona Child Protective Services (CPS), Governor Brewer could not ignore the incompetencies of the agency anymore. Although Brewer first instructed the Agency to comprise a plan to fix these shortcomings, the Governor announced in January that CPS was being abolished and replaced by the Division of Child Safety and Family Services in Arizona.
Governor Brewer’s new program, CARE, will head the Division and help focus on the goal of child safety. Immediately upon creation of the CARE Team, the group began investigating all the cases overlooked by CPS. Since taking over the Arizona child welfare program, they have removed 91 children from their homes due to neglect. Further, they found that of the 1,200 closed cases, subsequent evidence has led to 316 children being removed from their home.
In order to investigate all these cases, the Arizona Legislature approved a special $6.8 million appropriation to allow the Agency to hire another 200 employees to further investigate all of these cases. With the large number of child abuse cases in Arizona, Governor Brewer is looking to ask for an addition $10 million in the next year to help provide better emergency aid to children. This extra funding has been on top of the $74 million budgeted to CPS in last year’s annual budget. However, this pales in comparison to the estimated $124 billion minimum spent annually by the United States to fight child abuse and neglect. Child abuse and neglect continue to remain in a steady increase in the United States with many methods of reform still being explored. (VNN – Addison Naugle) (Image: Flickr | epSos.de)