Arizona Child-Welfare Agency Disbands Public Oversight Panels

Published: Wednesday, December 6, 2017 - 6:04pm

Advocates for child welfare are worried the fox is being assigned to watch the hen house. The state agency overseeing child safety is moving its oversight in-house.

Watchdogs are wondering who will oversee that policies are being followed now that the Arizona Department of Child Safety has disbanded public oversight panels to move that responsibility inside the agency.

Congress encouraged establishing expert panels in the mid-'90s as a second level of protection for children.

Social workers long involved in the process say internalizing the review process insulates the agency and puts children at risk.

It’s unclear who will appoint the new internal panel, but the department director says it’s possible current panel members will be invited to continue advising the Department of Child Safety.

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