Senate Committee Approves Immediate Funding For Child Welfare Workers

January 28, 2014

A panel of state lawmakers Tuesday approved a plan to fund new child welfare workers.

The Senate Appropriations Committee okayed Gov. Jan Brewer’s request for $6.8 million to hire 192 new employees for the state’s child welfare agency. Brewer asked for that money immediately, in addition to $74 million she wants to see in the budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

Earlier this month, Brewer dissolved the division that oversaw Child Protective Services and established the new Division of Child Safety and Family Services, with a director who reports to her. The move came after state officials announced that CPS had illegally ignored thousands of reports of child abuse.

Members of the appropriations committee expressed concerns about the new division at Tuesday’s hearing, including calls for strong outside oversight. But they ended up approving the emergency funding bill unanimously. It now needs approval from the full state Senate.