Legislators Pass Budget With CPS Funding Well Below Jan Brewer's Proposal
Arizona lawmakers approved a $9.2 billion budget yesterday.
The budget, which still needs Governor Jan Brewer's approval, shaved off roughly $25 million from Brewer's proposal for Child Protective Services spending for next year. Between the scandal of thousands of cases getting ignored at CPS, and the growing foster-care system, Brewer's made it clear that CPS is one of her top priorities this session.
-Senate Budget Proposal Cuts Down on Brewer's Recommended CPS Funding
-Arizona's High Foster-Care Rates Not Getting Any Better
However, there is a caveat to these lower levels of funding, as explained in one of the budget bills:
The legislature recognizes that legislation is being developed for a successor agency for child protective services that is separate from the department of economic security. Since that task is not complete, this budget has been adopted without knowing the scope, department needs and funding requirements for the successor agency that are necessary to protect the safety of the children in this state. It is the intent of the legislature to reexamine the budget in conjunction with the legislation that will create a successor agency, in order to meet the needs of that successor agency. The needs include staffing, automation, support services, placement, early intervention services and any needs deemed essential for the successor agency services and the safety of children in this state.It's been reported that a special session may be called to deal with funding for the new department that includes CPS.
In the meantime, the budget passed by legislators does include more CPS funding than the Senate budget initially proposed.
Here are some of the differences between the budget as passed, and Brewer's proposal:
- Brewer proposed $25 million for the creation of the new agency that includes CPS, the budget includes $20 million.
- Brewer proposed $10 million in 2015, and $15 million for the two years after that to replace the outdated child-safety database, which has a rough estimated cost of $40 million. Lawmakers approved $5 million a year for the next three years.
- Brewer proposed more than $20 million for new CPS workers. Lawmakers approved $15.3 million.
- Brewer proposed $8.6 million for more workers in CPS' Office of Child Welfare Investigations (which deals with criminal cases). Lawmakers approved $1.8 milion.
- Lawmakers met Brewer's proposals for CPS attorneys, child-support services, and adoption services.