Gov. Brewer calls CPS agency ‘broken’ during State of the State address

Jan 13, 2014, 2:58 PM | Updated: 6:59 pm

PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer used her annual State of the State
address Monday to focus on overhauling a troubled child welfare agency, saying she signed an Executive Order to do away with the Child Protective Services agency.

She called the agency “broken” and created a new Division of Child Safety and Family Services, which will report directly to her.

The move comes after revelations that CPS failed to investigate about 6,500 of
reports of abuse and neglect.

The Republican governor said she was ending the agency’s oversight by the
Department of Economic Security by executive order, saying the recent scandal
“broke my heart and makes me angry.”

Children’s advocacy groups took it as a sign that Brewer is serious about
reforming child welfare but said the long-term solution has to include early
intervention to prevent child abuse and a larger network of resources. The
groups and some Arizona lawmakers had been pressing for the agency to be moved
out from beneath the state Department of Economic Security, which her decision
did.

“We can’t continue business as usual,” said Dana Wolfe Naimark, president and
chief executive of Children’s Action Alliance. “The hard work begins now.”

Some Arizona lawmakers said they were troubled that Brewer created the division
without any input from the Legislature. Sen. Chester Crandall, R-Heber, said the
name of the child welfare agency can change but it won’t mean much until laws
are put in place to govern it and money is set aside to run it.

Rep. Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix, the House minority leader, said Brewer cannot
eliminate CPS. He said he would not support the new division until he sees how
it operates.

“Quite frankly, her appointee that was heading up CPS is what got us in this
mess in the first place,” he said. “And now she just did another appointee for
what seems like a new entity without any input from us again.”

Brewer praised the team she created, CARE, to investigate the problems and said
more than 3,000 children have now been seen by social workers or police.

She selected the head of that team, Juvenile Corrections Director Charles
Flanagan, to run a new cabinet-level agency to oversee child welfare.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety was ordered to conduct an administrative review to determine why the cases were not investigated.

Flanagan, who has been overseeing a
special team to investigate problems within CPS, was tapped as the new
division’s director. The latest tally from the team shows that more than 3,000
children connected to the reports of abuse and neglect now have been seen by
social workers or police. Nearly all the cases that were ignored from 2009
through November have been assigned to investigators.

Kathy McLaughlin, executive director of the Prescott-based Arizona Child and
Family Advocacy Network, said the new division should be more manageable and
more accountable. Flanagan will report directly to Brewer. “I have every faith
that the governor chose the right person,” she said.

Brewer said she will call on the Legislature to work with her to codify the new
division. She said child safety must be the priority and become embedded in the
fabric of the division.

“Enough with the uninvestigated reports of abuse and neglect,” Brewer said.
“Enough with the lack of transparency. And enough with the excuses.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Facebook File Photo/Phoenix Police Department)...
KTAR.com

Pedestrian crossing street killed in Laveen following hit-and-run

Phoenix police are investigating a fatal hit-and-run collision after a pedestrian died Tuesday evening in Laveen Village.
18 hours ago
(Coronado National Forest Photo)...
Kevin Stone

Forest officials warn visitors about shipping container wall at Arizona border

Officials are warning Coronado National Forest visitors about potential safety hazards related to shipping container border wall construction in southern Arizona.
18 hours ago
Shaqueila Hudson (Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Photo)...
KTAR.com

Woman accused of fatally stabbing father during argument in Phoenix

A woman was arrested for allegedly stabbing her father to death during an argument Tuesday in Phoenix, authorities said.
18 hours ago
(Photos via Buckeye Police Department)...
KTAR.com

Buckeye Police boost reward to $12,000 for tips in fatal hit-and-run of 16-year-old girl

Authorities have upped the reward for tips in the fatal hit-and-run of a 16-year-old girl more than two years ago in Buckeye.
18 hours ago
(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)...
KTAR.com

Mesa police fatally shoot man who allegedly drove into patrol vehicle

Police shot and killed a man who allegedly drove into a patrol vehicle outside a Mesa convenience store early Wednesday.
18 hours ago
President Joe Biden speaks about manufacturing jobs and the economy at SK Siltron CSS, a computer c...
KTAR.com

President Joe Biden schedules visit to Phoenix for next week

President Joe Biden will visit a Phoenix microchip plant next week to tout his economic plan, the White House announced Wednesday.
18 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
...
SCHWARTZ LASER EYE CENTER

Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Here are 4 signs the HVAC unit needs to be replaced

Pool renovations and kitchen upgrades may seem enticing, but at the forefront of these investments arguably should be what residents use the most. In a state where summertime is sweltering, access to a functioning HVAC unit can be critical.
Gov. Brewer calls CPS agency ‘broken’ during State of the State address