County Attorney Bill Montgomery to Head Governor's Child Safety Task Force to Fix Mess at CPS

Categories: Hot Mess at CPS
montydowntown.jpg
County Attorney Bill Montgomery and other child welfare experts have been pegged with the task of figuring out how to fix Child Protective Services.
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer announced today the members of a task force she's organized to review the state's child-safety policies following a recent spike in horrifying/highly publicized cases of child abuse.

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery -- who made waves with his controversial proposal to create an investigative unit separate from state Child Protective Services that would determine whether police or CPS case workers handle certain child-abuse reports -- will serve as the chairman of the task force.

"There can be no higher priority than the safety of children under state supervision," Brewer says. "I've assembled the best child-safety experts in Arizona in order to review state procedures and identify ways to help the agency perform at the highest level. With the expertise of law enforcement, physicians, victim advocates, and others who've devoted their lives to child safety, we can ensure that our state safeguards are the most effective possible."


Other members of the task force include the following:

  • Justice Robert Brutinel, Arizona Supreme Court
  • Judge Michael McVey, Maricopa County Superior Court
  • Clarence Carter, Director, Arizona Department of Economic Security
  • Steve Twist, President, Arizona Voice for Crime Victims
  • Dr. J. Kipp Charlton, Pediatrician, Maricopa Medical Center
  • Dr. Cindy Knott, Vice President, ChildHelp
  • Dr. Steven Anderson, Director, ASU School of Social Work
  • Veronica Bossack, Assistant Director, Division of Children Youth and Families, Department of Economic Security
  • Cassandra Larsen, Director, Governor's Office for Children, Youth and Families
  • Linda Gray, Arizona State Senator
  • Leah Landrum-Taylor, Arizona State Senator
  • Eddie Farnsworth, Arizona State Representative
  • Terri Proud, Arizona State Representative
  • Dave Byers, Director, Administrative Office of the Courts
  • Marty Shultz, Community Leader
  • Anne Donahoe, State Foster Care Review Board, CASA Volunteer
  • Lt. Katrina Alberty, Glendale Family Advocacy Center
  • Grace Bee, Foster Parent
Brewer says the task force will hold at least two public meetings, during which "it will hear testimony from experts in the following areas: child protective services investigations and management, law enforcement investigations, the administrative office of the courts, social services, foster care, crisis shelters and group homes, and child-welfare advocacy."

CPS has come under fire in recent months following several child-abuse related deaths, including those of 10-year-old Ame Deal and 6-year-old Jacob Gibson.

Deal was found dead in August by family members. Her body had been stuffed inside a tiny foot locker. The family initially claimed the girl had been playing hide-and-seek with other children and gotten stuck inside the box. According to police, that was a lie -- she was put in the box by her cousin as punishment for stealing a Popsicle and left there overnight. 

Getting stuffed in a foot locker was nothing compared to some of the other abuse the 10-year-old girl allegedly suffered at the hands of her family -- get all the details of Deal's horrific murder here.

amedeal.jpg
Ame Deal
Gibson was killed a few weeks after Deal when his parents beat him with a belt and a wire hangar.

Gibson's parents had been on CPS' radar since 2005. At one point, the agency removed Jacob from his parents' home, only to return him to his abusive parents. More on Gibson here.

CPS felt the brunt of the criticism following the deaths of Deal and Gibson. Critics say the agency has failed the children it's supposed to protect. Others say CPS is underfunded, understaffed, and overburdened.

Either way, Brewer's task force is attempting to fix what is clearly a broken system.

Brewer has given the task force until December 31 to provide to her "a detailed list of recommendations for statutory, organizational, management or protocol reforms necessary to enhance the welfare of children under state supervision or custody."
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16 comments
Rahasya
Rahasya

Out of the frying pan … poor children.

Nothing much can be done for his own son, but it is the most ugly and stupid cruelty to expose children to Bill Montgommery or any self-identified antiphilliac.

Grwood
Grwood

Seriously...there is not a SINGLE attorney on the panel who has ever been involved in a CPS fiasco.  This panel is sandwiched between a joke and a fart.  Good job...Guv.

Anon
Anon

So much for officials in positions of trust passing judgement on families and children:  

Texas judge beating video causing outrage - CBS News

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-20...

Anon
Anon

What's Steve Twist's professional expertise in handling family matters and children? He brags about starting Truth-in-sentencing, mandatory minimum sentencing which has put Arizona's people into prison for decades on non-violent, first offenses. The make-up of this commission is disturbing.

Concerned Citizen/Taxpayer
Concerned Citizen/Taxpayer

Prosecutors should not be in a position to determine what happens to children and their families. This belongs outside of law enforcement that broad-brushes ALL into the juvenile/criminal justice system which are also broken. MCAO should fix the broken criminal justice system and reform Arizona's draconian mandatory minimum sentencing that puts non-violent first offenders into prison for decades. The families are one incident away from this.

shadeaux14
shadeaux14

For 26 yrs, the cons who run this state have done absolutely nothing to EFFECTIVELY protect the children of this state and now, we're expected to believe that the same people who refused to fund transplants, kicked people off AZHCCSS, cut education funding, etc ACTUALLY GIVE A DAMN ABOUT THE CHILDREN.The only way these pigs will do anything beneficial for children is if the kids break open their piggy banks for a little bribe money.

Walter Concrete
Walter Concrete

That'll fix things.  Have a bunch of lawyers meet once in awhile, mostly not, and present a white washed stack of neat papers that say nothing.   Problem solved.

Jason
Jason

What GED Jan and the dumbass politicians at the Legislature need to do is provide more funding to CPS so that more workers can be hired and help ease the burden...

nccpr
nccpr

So representatives of the same organizations that created the mess now are supposed to find a way out of it?  It didn’t work when former Gov. Napolitano named her OBRC (Obligatory Blue Ribbon Commission) in 2003, and, with a couple of exceptions, the bunch Gov. Brewer has picked is worse. Most of them want more of the same: Tear apart even more families, consign even more children to the chaos of foster care.  That’s exactly what Arizona has been doing since 2003.  While nationwide the number of children torn from their homes during that time declined 15 percent, in Arizona it soared by 70 percent, with no end in sight. Instead of making children safer, it only further overloaded caseworkers, leaving them even less time to find children in real danger.  So it’s no wonder even as more and more children were taken away, deaths of children “known to the system” actually increased. There are real alternatives.  My organization offered a series of ideas for real reform – reforms with a proven record of success – when we released our 2007 report on Arizona child welfare.  It’s available here: http://bit.ly/irF2Ny   And there’s an update of sorts here: http://bit.ly/vsIOIv Richard WexlerExecutive DirectorNational Coalition for Child Protection Reformwww.nccpr.org

Rick
Rick

Arizona government has a long history of funding law enforcement and prisons before wanting to fund programs to benefit families and children.  Social programs are seen as "Socialist" and suspect in a state that praises self sufficiency over looking after the welfare of others.  What or leaders seem to forget is that if children and families can get help when the need it, those children are less likely to end up in jail or a crime statistic.Arizona Child Protective Services has been badly underfunded for decades.  This means that parents who can hide their abuse from CPS investigators can easily be dropped from the system  Governor Brewer and the Legislature can save the state money in the long term by increasing the CPS budget for a trial 3-5 year period, hire more investigators, increase the number of emergency placement and foster homes, and see if the number of child abuse deaths drop.

Sickened
Sickened

I can only hope for the children's sake this does not become politicized.  I agree that CPS has been underfunded and staffed, and I fear what would happen if the police state took over.  Private prisons, er I mean orphanages housing legions of children forcefully removed from their parents.  CPS properly funded at least would try and help council parents and family's.

Anon
Anon

This is the newest campaign witch-hunt for the "vote".

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