Thursday, May 28, 2015

AZ Representative Debbie McCune Davis: ‘It’s been a year, are Arizona kids safer?’

Legislator calls for faster access to critical reports on child safety

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX During the meeting of the Arizona Legislature’s Child Safety Oversight Committee, Rep. Debbie McCune Davis, D-Phoenix (District 30), renewed her call to agency officials and the governor to provide more timely access to information critical for the assessment of the Department of Child Safety’s ability to protect children.

“We are coming up on the one-year anniversary of the creation of the Department of Child Safety,” McCune Davis said. “And we are still hearing truly upsetting reports. For us to best identify and correct any lingering issues that may be jeopardizing the safety of Arizona children, we need an accurate accounting of the situation the department is facing.”

McCune Davis acknowledged the importance of the assessment tool, known as a dashboard, which the committee is developing to measure the progress of the agency based on semi-annual reports. She added that critical information is also needed on a monthly basis.

She and House Democratic Leader Eric Meyer, D-Paradise Valley (District 28), recently sent two requests to the governor and to the Department of Child Safety director requesting monthly reports to help legislators and the public gain a complete understanding of urgent and critical situations affecting thousands of children. The legislators requested 25 items be reported monthly.  During the hearing, McCune Davis asked the department to prioritize reporting the following 10 items from that initial list:

  • Number of abuse and neglect reports
  • Caseload average per full-time employee
  • Number of children entering foster care
  • Number of children leaving foster care
  • Total number of children in foster care (including unlicensed kinship placements)
  • Total number of families receiving in-home services
  • Percentage of the children entering foster care who are placed in congregate care
  • Total non-active cases
  • Net change in the number of foster homes
  • Number of children sleeping at emergency sites and offices           
“Monthly reporting is a way for us to measure the department’s progress. It is vital for the public and for legislators to know that the department has the resources necessary to protect children,” McCune Davis said. “It’s been a year, are Arizona kids safer?”

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