Work Begins On Allocating Child Safety Funds

By  KJZZ News
May 28, 2014

Arizona lawmakers have begun a special session to create and fund the new Department of Child Safety, to replace Child Protective Services. 

But those who want to do more to prevent abuse and neglect will have to wait. 

Most of the money in the legislation before lawmakers will go to deal with a backlog of nearly 15,000 existing cases.  Only about $4 million of it is aimed at subsidized child care for low-income parents. 

Rep. Kate Brophy McGee says more money to deal with cases already in the system is not the long-term answer.

“We're operating at the wrong end of the spectrum. We need to move it back to the front door of the Department of Child Safety instead of all the way at the back end where you've got children out homes and courts and families torn apart," Brophy McGee said.

Rep. Ethan Orr says prevention is actually more fiscally responsible. He maintains keeping families together costs about $5,000, compared with what he says is the $50,000 cost of removing the child from the home. 

Orr also says subsidized child care reduces the need for welfare and other subsidies by allowing the parents to go to work.