Gov. Jan Brewer signed legislation this afternoon creating a new Department of Child Safety. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer reports.
The new agency will replace the often-troubled Child Protective Services. The plan not only restructures how child abuse and neglect cases are handled, but also increases funding for new caseworkers. What finally made a difference was the discovery that 6,500 complaints to CPS had never been investigated at all. Brewer said all this will change under DCS.
“No more excuses, no more secrets, no more faceless decision makers. We have begun to reverse a long-standing crisis and implement long-standing change,” she said.
The signing came just hours after lawmakers unanimously approved creation of the agency. But, Sen. Steve Farley said the crisis at CPS should have come as no surprise because of money-savings cuts made over the last several years — under Brewer’s leadership — in prevention programs.
“And we’ve seen the direct result of what happens when you cut prevention programs. You end up with a lot more kids in the system and a lot more money spent later,” he said.
And, asked if her administration is at least partly at fault for the crisis, Brewer responded.
“We probably are.”