In her State of the State address today, Governor Brewer recognized that Arizona must do better to protect children from abuse and neglect. She made a dramatic announcement about signing an Executive Order making Child Protective Services an independent agency reporting directly to her. She immediately pointed out that she will work together with the state legislature on permanent structural and operational reforms that are desperately needed.
Today’s announcement is an important signal that Governor Brewer is committed to new leadership and meaningful change. However, an organizational restructuring in and of itself does nothing to protect children. The results Arizonans expect depend on the leadership, policies, funding, and systems that combine to change children’s lives. Children’s Action Alliance, parents, and community leaders across the state look forward to working with the Governor and state legislators to develop the kind of CPS staff support, manageable caseloads, partnerships with foster parents and community groups, and investments in family support that will lead to success for child protection. Long term success for Arizona means rebuilding help for families so that fewer children ever need CPS at all.
While Governor Brewer today said nothing about resources for child safety, she did announce her support for additional tax breaks for certain businesses. We urge lawmakers to have a robust and rigorous discussion about all proposed fiscal policies to examine whether any new tax cuts will bring the results they promise and what impact they will have on future resources for Child Protective Services and education.