Statement from Campbell on child safety special session
STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – House Minority Leader Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix (District 24), released this statement after the Arizona House of Representatives passed bills designed to improve the state’s child-safety system.
“This week our Legislature continued the task of reforming Arizona’s child-safety system. The legislation we passed created the framework and funding for the new Department of Child Safety. The bills are designed to correct the issues that overwhelmed Child Protective Services.
“While this is progress, it will take time for the new agency to work through the nearly 15,000-case backlog. Also, prevention and support services still aren’t receiving enough resources to curb the growing child-safety caseload in this state. Unless we invest in prevention and support services now, the new agency will suffer the same failures as CPS.
“Earlier this year, Arizona House Democrats proposed a budget that included $193 million for child safety and other health and human services programs. That was a more realistic budget for addressing the issues that plague our child-safety system.
“Unfortunately today, Democrats lost the fight to get additional funding for childcare subsidies for working families, for grandparents caring for their grandchildren, and for Families First, a substance abuse treatment program. For years, support and prevention services have suffered drastic budget cuts. Without these services, more families faced situations that required attention from CPS. This trend will only be reversed by prioritizing the programs that help families avoid crisis. Also, we must ensure that there are always enough caseworkers to manage the caseloads as children continue to enter the system.
“We’ve just started taking the steps necessary to correct the damage done to child-safety programs in Arizona. House Democrats are encouraged by the progress we have made and will continue to push for more robust reforms that will better serve our children, families and state.”