Brewer's Child Welfare Agency Plan Generally Well Received

By  KJZZ News
May 23, 2014

(Courtesy of Children's Action Alliance)
Dana Wolfe Naimark

A proposal from Gov. Jan Brewer to create a new child welfare agency is getting a generally favorable reaction, but with some conditions. 

The governor is asking lawmakers to approve an additional $60 million to create the new Division of Child Safety and Family Services during a special session next week. That would be on top of the $59 million lawmakers approved during the legislative session and would bring total funding to $827 million. 

House Appropriations Committee Chair Jon Kavanagh says much of the money is needed to play catch-up with abuse and neglect complaints for what he calls an understaffed agency,

“I think you'll see a very watchful eye about the way it's spent and if, in fact, we're getting improvements for the money over the next couple of years," Kavanagh said.

He thinks lawmakers will go along with the request next week.

Dana Naimark of the Children’s Action Alliance, who for years has criticized CPS handling of child welfare complaints, generally supports the plan but says a solution involves more than a one-year cash infusion.

“The success doesn't only depend on what they adopt next week, but what happens next year and the year after that is absolutely critical,” Naimark said.

Naimark wants some of the cash being designated to clear up the backlog, to eventually be shifted to programs that prevent abuse from taking place.