Monday, June 1, 2015
Remember how shocked we were in 2013 when we learned that 6,500 reports of child abuse and neglect were listed NI, or "not investigated" by Child Protective Services? In response, Gov. Brewer created a new department and put new people in charge.
Concerned that the new department is struggling, Rep. Debbie McCune Davis and I sent letters to Gov. Ducey asking for immediate and ongoing updates on the reports and resolution of all cases of child abuse and neglect. He has not responded. Read the letters here: http://www.azhousedemocrats.com/2015/05/house-dems-make-second-request-for.html
Last Thursday, we learned from DCS Director Greg McKay that there were 14,762 cases listed as "inactive" or not followed in 2014 and that that number has now grown to 15,473. Additionally, of the 17,623 children now living outside their homes, 21 percent have been assigned to group homes, known to be more expensive and less stable than placements with foster families.
We know children are suffering. Just recently, we heard about Alexandra, who should have been looking forward to her fourth birthday, but who died a week ago after years of abuse and starvation.
Other states are making progress in reducing the numbers of children in their child welfare systems. Investing in preventive services changes outcomes for children. Providing support staff through our public schools and ensuring that our families have opportunities to access good jobs and health care makes a difference in the quality of children's lives.
Who's to blame for our child welfare crisis in Arizona? The parents? The caseworkers? The Governor? So far, he has not provided a meaningful plan for getting the new Dept. of Child Safety on track. Where is our vision for a better future for Arizona's children and families?
Fighting for fair budgets and adequate services for our state's children and families should be the job of our governor -- and our legislators. I will continue to do my part to advocate for a plan that ensures that the Dept. of Child Safety receives the resources
needed to keep kids safe, but I need your help:
Call Gov. Ducey at (602) 542-4331 or (520) 628-6580, or email him at http://azgovernor.gov/governor/form/contact-governor-ducey. Tell him to restore the budget cuts to the new Dept. of Child Safety and ensure that all reports of child abuse and/or neglect are investigated and follow-up procedures implemented.
Together, we will make the changes needed to ensure that Arizona's children have their rightful opportunities to grow up to be happy, successful, contributing members of our communities.
Thank you. I am grateful as always for your continued support.
Rep. Eric Meyer, M.D., Legislative District 28
Minority Leader, Arizona State House of Representatives
Posted by Barbara at 3:05 PM