Arizona CPS update: Classes help Arizona parents cope and grow

PHOENIX - More than two weeks after learning Child Protective Services failed to investigate thousands of cases, police agencies are stepping in to investigate thousands of those ignored child abuse and neglect cases.

CPS has made big budget cuts over the last few years to its preventative care services.

But sometimes it's something as basic as a parenting class that makes a difference.

Ana Franco knows just how hard it is to be a good parent.

"My 7-year-old Adam wasn't getting understood by his teachers, from there we had numerous problems with behavior," Franco said.

The mother of five couldn't afford to get help so she turned to her son's school for free parenting classes.

"It taught me how to communicate with a child like him," Franco said.

Programs like these are becoming fewer and fewer.

According to the Children's Action Alliance, between 2009 and 2012 there's been about a 70 percent cut in child care subsidy services. Parenting classes fall under that category.

Also during that period they say, Arizona saw a 44 percent increase in reports of abuse and a 37 percent increase in children in foster care.

Rosemary Schapira is a mom who teaches free parenting classes and she knows how stressful life can get.

"When you're able to talk about those problems in the presence of a professional and just get some help, there's a huge weight lifted off your shoulder. I know it did for me," Schapira said.

Franco attends Schapira's classes.

She says the tools she's learned has changed not just her life but also her entire family's.

"It's important because there's a lot of people out there who don't have the resources to take a class," Franco said.

A non-profit called "Thrive to Five" offers the free parenting classes at various schools in Tempe and Ahwatukee.

The project manager says it's seen a huge increase in the number of families turning to them for help. Right now they assist over 600 families.

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