FEBRUARY 26, 2014

Senate passes President’s bill for external review of CPS

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PHOENIX – The State Senate passed SB 1386, a bill providing money for an independent agency to conduct an external review of Child Protective Services CPS). The bill passed 29-0, and now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.

The idea behind the bill is to bring in an outside group to conduct a top-to-bottom review of the state’s child welfare system, identifying best practices used in other states and determining recommendations for improving the delivery of CPS in Arizona.

This bill follows the discovery last fall that Child Protective Services ignored thousands of reports of possible child neglect. In January lawmakers approved more than $5 million in new spending for more CPS case workers. Governor Brewer has also put together a team of child welfare experts to determine legislation to further improve the agency.

“This bill does nothing to interfere with ongoing efforts to improve child welfare in Arizona. In fact, it complements it,” said President Andy Biggs, sponsor of SB 1386.”I think it’s a mistake to just have current CPS staff determine the future of CPS. Arizona has a structural problem with the child welfare system. Other states are not seeing this level of failure.”

“I think we are letting down the children of Arizona if we don’t pursue a full review, and find out what works in other states and how we can bring those effective practices to Arizona.”
SB 1386 provides $250,000 for the outside review.

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