Shortly after Janet Napolitano officially became Arizona's 21st governor she expressed her desire to fix the state's beleaguered Child Protective Services Department.
"CPS's number one priority is to protect Arizona's Children," Napolitano told news reporters following her inauguration Monday.
While serving as Arizona's first female Attorney General there is little doubt that Napolitano has seen, first-hand, the ineffectiveness of the CPS system.
One major step in the right direction would be for the state to stop fooling around with unfit parents. It's time for Arizona to get tough on parents with a record of habitual criminal activity, drug abuse, child abuse, or continual acts of violence and neglect.
Far too many children have been robbed of their one chance for a happy childhood because CPS was too slow to terminate parental rights. Children become trapped in limbo for years being passed around from one foster home to another until they have no real chance for a stable, loving family they can call their own.
It's heartbreaking to watch a young child grow up within the gates of this system, chained just outside the reach of a family ready and longing to adopt them -- sometimes this is a foster family that has already invited the child into their home and hearts.
So why is Arizona putting our neglected children through even more neglect?
The line needs to be drawn in the sand more clearly, and sooner, for unfit parents who choose drugs, alcohol, crime or any destructive, criminal or violent behavior. Parents should be given a fair opportunity to get their lives straightened out and raise their own children. But when it becomes painfully obvious that it's not happening, it shouldn't take a child's lifetime to make a change.