Arizona DCS Looks To Change Definition Of Child Abuse And Neglect

By Alexandra Olgin
Published: Saturday, January 30, 2016 - 5:05am
Updated: Saturday, January 30, 2016 - 7:58am
Alexandra Olgin/KJZZ
Arizona Department of Child Safety Director Greg McKay addresses reporters on July 30, 2015.

Arizona’s child welfare agency wants to change how it defines a report of child abuse and neglect. If passed into law, the legislation would narrow what alleged conduct the state is required to investigate.

Department of Child Safety Director Greg McKay said he is trying to redefine what neglect is so the agency doesn’t have to respond to old reports. He referred to a review by a private company that found more than 40 percent of the allegations the agency investigated didn’t need state intervention.

“That’s looking towards lawmakers to say what we want to do as a community. Do we want to continue to go out on unnecessary cases and then hence grow the unattainable volume of what we can do? Or do we want to talk about policy makers and as community on what we should and shouldn’t go out on?" said McKay.

If this legislation is passed as written, DCS wouldn’t be required to investigate non-criminal reports of child abuse and neglect if the alleged conduct happened more than a year ago and if victim was at least 12 years old when it occurred. The bill also states for a report to be investigated the victim would have to be in the state and the incident must have happened in Arizona.

The bill is currently in front of a legislative committee.