Arizona House lawmakers are still debating the budget just passed by the Senate. Many items causing Republicans and Democrats to hesitate supporting the budget is funding for the new Child Protective Services.
Governor Jan Brewer stated in her State of the State that funding and fixing CPS was her top priority.
She asked for over $80 million dollars to fund the new department she created as a separate agency.
Part of the money would be used to hire 263 case workers and investigators for the Office of Child Welfare Investigations and other staff.
“I’m concerned that the funding is only $53 million. I had a lot of questions,” said District 11 Rep. Kate Brophy McGee.
Rep. Brophy McGee, who is on the CPS Oversight Committee and part of the independent team tasked with investigating CPS, was hoping for more money.
“We found a compromise. An amendment was added that promised to reevaluate the CPS budget once the structure and rules of the agency was formed,” said Rep. Brophy McGee.
The representative has been working with other lawmakers to create that structure and is expected to have it complete by sometime in May. A new budget for the agency will be created.
Child advocates hope preventative care funding will be part of that budget.
“If we don’t start funding from the front end, we will keep wasting money on the back end, playing catch-up when more children fall through the cracks,” said Ashley Kelley, a former caseworker.