DCS plans to close temporary housing center

An emergency center for abused children is set to close. The Arizona Department of Child Safety says that is okay because it has made better arrangements for children removed from troubled families. But DCS critics are not so sure.

DCS used to house the children in its offices because there was nowhere else to put them after they'd been removed from their homes. That changed last year when DCS opened an emergency placement center.

The agency says the center was always meant to be temporary; it's now scheduled to close at the end of the next month.

Video from last May shows the emergency placement center in use. Children's bedrooms were created out of an office space at an undisclosed location. DCS says it has become more efficient at using its resources to get children into foster care, so the center no longer has to stay open.

"We have had much greater success in placing these children quicker, so that is one reason we are closing this project, it was always intended to be a temporary project," said Doug Nick with DCS.

Critics say the expanding ranks of foster parents to deal with this problem is not the best way to help these children.

"We should be emphasizing more in-home services to support children and their families and programs to prevent neglect," said Beth Rosenberg with the Children's Action Alliance.

"We should not reply on foster care, there is a lot of research saying foster care is traumatic for children and their families," said Rosenberg.

DCS disagrees with the criticism.

"It is perplexing to me and the agency that anybody would say foster care is not an important and vital part of the system in Arizona," said Nick.

The CAA says there's a place for foster parenting, certainly in cases of abuse. But DCS should spend more resources on prevention, so kids do not grow up in abusive conditions.