McCune Davis named to CPS Oversight Committee
Democrats ready to take action now
STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Rep. Debbie McCune Davis, D-Phoenix (District 14), will serve on Arizona’s Child Protective Services Oversight Committee. She said she is ready to start working to improve CPS now.
The CPS Oversight Committee, created this year by HB 2249, is required by statute to identify areas of improvement for the agency. It was supposed to make recommendations by Nov. 15, 2012. That deadline has passed and the committee, which is required to include several state legislators, a representative from DES, a member of a law enforcement agency, a CPS caseworker, a foster parent, and a guardian, has not met.
Although McCune Davis received notification late Monday afternoon that she will serve on the committee, several other appointments have not been made. The governor and Senate president are responsible for some of those appointments.
“This committee should come together and start work immediately,” McCune Davis said. “We can’t afford to delay. There is too much at stake. The Republican leadership in this state needs to stop procrastinating. I’m ready to start now, today.”
McCune Davis is a longtime child safety advocate. She sponsored legislation that created the Arizona Child Fatality Review Program about 20 years ago. The program reported last month that 71 Arizona children died in 2011 because of maltreatment. The report also indicated that more than half of the children who died were less than a year old.
“It is shocking and disheartening,” McCune Davis said. “We need to find better ways to support CPS so the agency can do its job to protect Arizona children.”
An article published in The Arizona Republic on Oct. 21 reported that more children have died from child abuse in 2012 than in 2010 or 2011. Also, there are 37 percent more Arizona children in foster care since October 2009, while the number of foster homes continues to decrease at an alarming rate.
Rep. Katie Hobbs, D-Phoenix (District 15), said despite these reports, Republicans are ignoring the urgency of the situation.
“We have a moral and a legal obligation to find ways to help CPS provide services to protect children,” Hobbs said. “For months, I have been calling on Republican leaders in the state to form this committee so we can take action. They are wasting time. This kind of procrastination could result in tragedy. This needs to be a priority.”