Brewer’s CPS proposal needs support from lawmakers

brewerFor years, the Governor of Arizona ignored the concerns of legislators about Child Protective Services. During that time, legislators moved to provide oversight, any oversight of the agency they believed was out of control.

Only after the truth about the agency and its failure to protect children came out this past month, did the Governor use the State of the State address to announce that she was finally going to do something about the abuse and neglect of the State’s most vulnerable population. Brewer announced on Monday before Arizona legislators that she signed an Executive Order abolishing Child Protective Services (CPS) “as we know it,” and was creating a new Division of Child Safety and Family Services that reports directly to her.

The Governor selected Charles Flanagan to lead the new Division, which would be a separate agency – autonomous from the Department of Economic Security – focused exclusively on the safety and well-being of children. Because a change in Arizona law is required, the Governor will need the support of the same Democrat and Republican lawmakers she ignored those many times before.

On Tuesday, she tried to sell the idea to the residents of Southern Arizona during a luncheon at the Sheraton El Conquistador in Oro Valley.

Among its provisions, the Governor’s Executive Order directs that:

• The Division of Children, Youth and Families is abolished and the Division of Child Safety and Family Services is established. The Director of the new Division shall oversee and direct all administrative, programmatic, and management functions of the state child welfare program, including CPS, foster care, adoption, and the Comprehensive Medical and Dental Program. The Director will report directly to the governor.

• The OCWI shall also report to the Director of the Division of Child Safety and Family Services.

• The Director of the Division of Child Safety and Family Services shall consider the recommendations of the Independent CARE Team, as directed by the Governor, for the purpose of improving services, practices and outcomes for children, youth and families.

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