Lawmakers set Arizona child welfare overhaul vote - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

Gov. Jan Brewer signs child welfare overhaul bills

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    Arizona's child welfare agency has come a ways since news of those mishandled cases first broke, but it has much further to go.Early in December Arizona was in crisis mode. The community was up in arms holding forums, demanding action, and firings for CPS workers accused of mishandling child abuse cases.
    Arizona's child welfare agency has come a ways since news of those mishandled cases first broke, but it has much further to go.Early in December Arizona was in crisis mode. The community was up in arms holding forums, demanding action, and firings for CPS workers accused of mishandling child abuse cases.
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Arizona has a new child welfare agency and the money to operate it. Governor Brewer proposed the overhaul after it was discovered more than 6,500 abuse and neglect reports were closed without investigation.

At a special session, the House and Senate approved the bill and funding, and the Governor signed the bill.

Governor Jan Brewer called the legislation she signed Thursday the most significant and meaningful child safety reform in Arizona's history undoing decades of damage done through child protective services. She also named Charles Flanagan the director of the new stand alone agency.

"The message to the children of Arizona is we are here for you, know we will not let what happened in the past happen in the future, we are going to do everything to be there to protect you," said Charles Flanagan.

Flanagan spent the last 3 years as the director of Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections. He said his job was to help them succeed, and that's what he will be doing in the new department. He adds that his former role showed him the importance of early intervention treatment and services.

"We're not waiting, we've already started, we're making tremendous progress and it's not one persons responsibility, it's everybody, its a team effort," said Flanagan.

A team effort that he is now heading up, with the mission of protecting Arizona's abused and neglected children.

"Those outcomes are not removing children when they don't need to be removed, responding immediately and being able to remove children that do need to be removed, prosecuting those that harm children, toward making sure we can reunify families when that's possible, and making sure achieve permanency through adoption in every instance where we can't reunify a family," he said.

60 million dollars was also given to the new agency giving them 827 million dollars in total funding. That money will go toward hiring new staff, giving that staff resources and services, and treatment for families.

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