Monday, December 14, 2015

Arizona Kids can’t wait

Arizona DemocratsThe Department of Child Safety officials are late – again. This time they are three months late in releasing quarterly reports on performance measures including current child abuse and neglect investigations and staff retention.

This is part of an ongoing issue with the agency, which is routinely late sharing its data. Previous reports from DCS indicate the agency is still in crisis.

Staffingat the agency is an increasing concern. According to reports released in June, staffing remains well below the level for which the state has budgeted.  In the October meeting of the Child Safety Oversight Committee, DCS Director Greg McKay provided unsettling testimony that staff is overwhelmed by the volume of their caseloads.  He added that many staffers have boxes under their desks of “abandoned cases that came from the last people that quit.”

In light of this and Director McKay’s admission that some of the agency’s money was “not well spent,” it seems increasingly unlikely that the delayed reports will show a reverse in the increasing backlog, troubles retaining caseworkers and growing need for additional foster homes.

The trends still appear to be moving in the wrong direction, and delays in reporting are making it increasingly difficult to correct the problems plaguing this agency. The information that DCS Director McKay has shared is alarming. We need accountability from DCS and the governor. #AskDuceyWhy he has no plan to prevent the immoral neglect of Arizona’s vulnerable children.

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