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Updated May 22, 2014 - 5:26 pm

Arizona child welfare overhaul at a glance

PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer on Thursday called for a special
legislative session to enact a proposed overhaul of the state’s child welfare
system. The proposal was prompted by years of problems at the state’s Child
Protective Services agency which were highlighted by the November discovery that
more than 6,500 abuse and neglect reports that were not investigated.

Here are five key parts of Brewer’s overhaul proposal:

NEW AGENCY

Establishes a standalone agency focused solely on child welfare, called the
Department of Child Safety. The agency would be charged with investigating
reports of abuse and neglect, promoting child safety, and ensuring that children
are either kept in a safe family home or placed in permanent housing.

FUNDING

Boosts the state child welfare budget by $55 million in the budget year
beginning July 1, bringing spending to $827 million. Spending just two years
before was $626 million.

NON-PARENTS

Allows the department to investigate abuse reports involving a non-parent who
lives in the home, often called the “bad boyfriend” scenario. Current state
law only allows parents or legal guardians to be investigated by child welfare
workers.

AUDITS AND TRAINING

Creates accountability standards department-wide, including creation of
inspections bureau, required outside audits and training of hotline and
investigations staff.

LEGAL

Allows the director to contract out services and hire legal counsel outside the
state Attorney General’s office.

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