State lawmakers gave final approval this afternoon for additional funding for the new child welfare agency. But, Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer reports there was some grumbling.
Everyone in both the House and Senate agreed the Division of Child Safety and Family Services needs the extra 126 caseworkers to deal not only with current caseload but also the backlog of 10,000 cases that have not been addressed in at least two months. There also is cash for supervisors and support staff. But, Rep. Eric Meyer complained that the budget crafted by Gov. Jan Brewer does not boost funding for drug and alcohol treatment, and programs designed to prevent domestic violence — and prevent kids from winding up in the child welfare system in first place. He said Brewer is operating like she’s steering the Titanic.
“She comes out and rearranges the deck chairs. In this case she’s appointed a new director. And we don’t know anything else about what she’s going to do. And then she just goes back in and continues steering the Titanic,” Meyer said.
But, House Speaker Andy Tobin called the comparison invalid.
“Long ago, when these problems started to arise, I don’t think we had anybody react as quick as this governor has and as quickly as this legislature,” Tobin said.
Brewer is expected to sign the measure when she returns from the Super Bowl.