News from the Department of Child Safety

| December 17, 2014

When the legislature and Governor Brewer created the new Department of Child Safety they appropriated funding to add new staff so that children could be protected and connected with permanent homes. It is worth celebrating that as of October 31, the Department had filled all of its direct child safety specialist positions. In January of this year, there were 1,190 child safety specialists.  Nine months later there are 1,408.

A report released by the Department of Health Services reminds us how crucial these professionals are who carry life and death responsibilities. Although total child deaths statewide fell between 2012 and 2013, fatalities due to abuse and neglect increased from 70 in 2012 to 92 in 2013. The Child Fatality Review Program recommends sufficient funding for child care vouchers so that parents don’t have to turn to unqualified or unsafe caregivers.

For more data about the well-being of Arizona’s children, see the lastest CAA charts and dashboard here.

Resources for staffing, technology, and services are needed to sustain progress and reforms in child safety. The Department of Child Safety (DCS) is requesting a net increase of $24 million in their general fund budget to address issues related to creation of the new agency and more children needing services. This includes costs for more children in foster care, a shift of $4 million into services to prevent the need for foster care, and $20 million to continue the phase in of a new data system. The current case management system is decades old and doesn’t give caseworkers easy access to the information they need.

Children’s Action Alliance will be calling on partners and supporters across the state to urge the new Governor and legislature to keep the commitment to protect children.

Click here for the DCS summary of their budget request sent to Governor Brewer in the fall.

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Category: Child Welfare, Education, General, Programs, Resources

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