Arizona Legislature Approves $6.8 Million for New CPS Workers, and Tab May Grow

Categories: I'm Only a Bill
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Arizona's House and Senate both approved a proposal to spend more than $6.8 million to hire new employees at Child Protective Services, which includes $5.7 million in new spending from the state's general fund.

In addition to that, one legislator proposed dipping into the general fund for a little bigger special fund for CPS.

See also:
-Arizona Senate Committee Approves $6.8 Million to Hire New CPS Workers

Greg McKay, the Phoenix homicide detective who's been running CPS' relatively new Office of Child Welfare Investigations (OCWI) -- the office credited with discovering the thousands of uninvestigated cases at CPS -- explained to a House committee yesterday his office's need for more funding.

Turns out, that office already faces a backlog of cases too. It's only able to investigate about 17 percent of the child-safety reports at CPS that include allegations of criminal conduct. According to state law, such investigations are one of the main duties of OCWI.

McKay's seeking an extra $8.6 million in next year's budget to hire 93 more workers, which is included in Governor Jan Brewer's budget recommendation.

After listening to McKay's presentation, Republican Representative Carl Seel proposed a floor amendment to the special CPS funding, to give OCWI some money out of the general fund now to start hiring those people. Seel withdrew his amendment, saying he was just floating the idea that legislators may want to do this, adding that he didn't know exactly how much they should provide in this supplemental appropriation.

Meanwhile, the legislators approved, and Brewer undoubtedly will sign, the supplemental appropriation taking more than $5.7 million from the general fund, and shifting another $1.1 million from the Department of Economic Security budget to hire 192 "full-time equivalent child safety and family services positions."

This is on top of $69 million in new spending appropriated to CPS for this fiscal year. Last year's budget included $12.9 million for 150 new employees, plus legislators approved another supplemental appropriation last year -- another $4.4 million from the general fund for another 50 caseworkers.

Brewer's budget proposal also calls for even more funding at CPS, including about $10 million more in supplemental funds for CPS and the rest of the new Division of Child Safety and Family Services (CSFS), plus more than $73 million in new spending for next year (see slides 13-24 of Brewer's budget presentation).

Although legislators might not include all the spending Brewer wants on CPS and CSFS, nobody in either chamber of the Legislature voted against this new $5.7 million in spending, despite a few complaints from legislators on both sides of the aisle.

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Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.



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6 comments
vagabond545454
vagabond545454

To bad no paparazzi exists for exposing politicians as chase the Hollywood stars, might be a new industry there since scandal does sell whether its a movie star or a corrupt politician! With so many folks out of work, and so many video camera phones, video cameras cheap as they have ever been one could have a career chasing down the corrupt politicians and exposing them since they cannot hide look at the ones who get caught with hookers, embroiled in bribery schemes, etc., if watched close enough the connections can be made! I guess it would open a whole new career field for the paparazzi/politician video makers!

vagabond545454
vagabond545454

$6.8 million creating a duplicate organization within Arizona government? I bet if one did some investigating, one would find some of our Governors cronies will be in the top pay slots for this new organization! Much like the conversion of state run prisons to private prison industry the republicans are notorious for using citizen tax dollars to pay their cronies for loyal service and patronage! Maybe one day a expose will occur in Arizona like is unfolding in New Jersey showing how corrupt, inept, criminal the right wing is when given carte blanch power and access to unlimited citizen taxes with no over sight of how they spend it!

gtnoriega554
gtnoriega554

What kinds of credentials and training are these new hires going to have?  As I recall from my time spent working for CPS, anyone with a BA in anything could work for CPS.  CPS would provide you with a few classes and that was it.  However, a few classes does not a social worker make.  Trying to do a good job on the cheap is seldom a good idea.

shadeaux14
shadeaux14

Anybody want to place a bet that, within 3 years, another high profile case hits the fan and shows that nothing has changed.


The politicians in Arizona, both at the county and state level have proven (Arnold vs Sarn, Johnson vs Upchurch, ACLU vs Arpaio) that the only way they will do the right thing is at the business end of a federal court order and even then, they'll waste millions more in taxpayer money filing endless, pointless appeals.

gtnoriega554
gtnoriega554

@shadeaux14 You may have a point there.  If you have a mess on the floor, you can sweep the mess elsewhere and/or hide it underneath the carpet, but you still have a mess. 

gtnoriega
gtnoriega

@ConcernedCitizenAZ Rumor has it Brewer graduated her GED "Summa Cum Laude".  I'm guessing the bar with be set low for these new positions.

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