Cps Disaster Has Been Decades In The Making

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Editor:

A crisis of epic scale has unfolded among the governor and state legislators who are scrambling to find scapegoats to blame for the problem that they themselves created.

Ten years ago, both the governor and the attorney general brought attention to the fact that Child Protective Services (CPS) was overwhelmed and crumbling internally. Then-governor Napolitano said, “we have a true crisis in CPS in this state ... we have had it for a long time.” For decades everyone had known about the inadequate staffing and insufficient resourc­es at CPS.

Three years ago a new state director was hired to protect children subjected to abuse or neglect. It was clear then that he was not to ask for increases in staff or additional funding.

He went along with the ruse. But his department continued to notify the governor and the Legislature in monthly and semi-annual reports that reported cases of child abuse and neglect were not being investigated.

For years the legislators ignored the growing crisis ... until last month when the dike finally broke and the public was infuriated at the news that 6,550 reported incidents of possible child abuse and neglect had been ignored over the previous two years.

Panic set in among elected officials and the hunt for scapegoats was on.

The governor and Republican legislators had for years refused to provide adequate resources for child welfare.

Now they want to know whom to blame. As if they were not aware of the huge turnover problems at CPS arising from the fact that caseloads exceed the state’s standards by 77 percent. Or as if no one had told them that 10,000 cases had not been investigated or that in just a few years the number of children in foster care had increased by 50 percent to 15,000.

They do not want to admit that, abandoning their constitutional responsibility, they simply looked the other way and refused to address the problem.

Internally, CPS officials had no choice. Handcuffed by some of the highest staff turnover rates in the nation and the lack of adequately trained professionals, program managers had only one option — triage: treat top priorities first and let the rest go. In the heat of such a crisis it is no wonder that serious mistakes occurred.

There just were not enough “lifeboats” to go around. Some would have to fend for themselves, even if they were defenseless children possibly subjected to horrendous cruelty.

The legislators’ ploy to scapegoating the managers and staff of CPS is truly shameful. It only serves as a distraction from their own failure as legislators to provide the resources needed to care for these children. Don’t let them get away with this cowardice.

It was their constitutional responsibility. And they failed to act. More investigation won’t help. Everybody knows what the problem is — the failure of the Legislature to provide adequate resources.

Legislators will say “Bah! Humbug! Throwing money at a problem is not the solution!” Neither is depriving a mission of the financial and staffing resources needed to accomplish its goal!

For decades the problem was well known yet our legislators did nothing to solve it. They are the ones to blame for this horrendous situation.

We should be telling Governor Brewer, and our Payson representatives Bob Thorpe, Brenda Barton and Chester Crandell to stand up and admit their failure to do their job. They are the ones who caused this unnecessary disaster by being complicit in the abuse and neglect of thousands of Arizona children.

It would be fitting to subject them to citizens’ arrest for dereliction of duty in abandoning their constitutional responsibility to protect vulnerable children.

If that doesn’t work, next November we can indict them for their horrendous neglect and demand final accountability. We can fire them for being such miserly Scrooges and irresponsible legislators.

Raymond Spatti

Comments

Barbara Buntin 1 year ago

Taking a child into the CPS system is incredibly expensive. Each parent has an attorney, the kids have an attorney, the parents are most likely court ordered to have drug abuse counceling, anger management,parenting classes, they have to do drug testing, then there is shelters for the parents if needed. The visitations to start are supervised which requires paying an agency, The system pays to transport kids to parents or parents to kids as often they end up in different towns. So now we are paying for gas etc. I know of one case where the child was picked up at 7 am and didn't get back until 10pm. The children go to counceling, they get medical and dental. The foster parents get paid, as does CPS, the placement agencies,the court system has judges, clerks, state attorney's to represent CPS etc. And I'm sure I've forgot something. Oh yes! The toll on the children from a system that is dysfunctional.

All of this at the expense of the tax payer. Cha-ching.

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Rex Hinshaw 1 year ago

You are trying to make political points. That is wrong. CPS needs more resources....but needs more accountability. Stop trying to blame Republicans.....work toward a solution.

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Mel Mevis 12 months ago

Who do you want to blame?????

In Arizona the GOP has controlled the legislature for decades and the governor has been Republican the majority of that time.

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Rex Hinshaw 1 year ago

i agree that CPS is overwhelmed , but that is not the fault of the republican party. You are trying to make cheap points for political gain.

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Mel Mevis 12 months ago

OK, in Arizona the State Legislature has been controlled by the GOP for decades. They have refused to significantly increase funds or change the structure of CPS. If we can't blame them what is the reason this has occurred?

Before you can fix a problem you need to understand what caused the problem. You are correct the problem requires fixing ....... The root cause of the problem is the failed policies of a political party.........

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don evans 1 year ago

Nice try Mr. Spatti. Your talking points are right out of the Obama manual and the Democratic political machine. CPS is part of the more recent Judicial Employment Industry that has been created by those of your ilk. Miss Buntin so aptly pointed out above all the "money train hogs at the trough". In addition, every public institution is more worried about CYA and civil law suits, no wonder the system is overwhelmed. Oh, and you failed to mention what Mizz Governor Napolitano did about her sudden CPS epiphany during her term?

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Mel Mevis 12 months ago

Nice try Mr Evans. Your talking points are right our of the Tea Party manual and the ultra right wing machine. CPS is the result of a failed political agenda espoused by the likes of you. Miss Burton is a heartless racist person who would let children die and starve. The GOP and Tea Party are more worried about CYA and winning elections, no wonder CPS is a failure. You failed to mention that the current governor did the same things as Nappy, what was her epiphany.

Face it Mr Evans, decades of neglect, political posturing and hatred by the GOP are coming home. Personally this is just the first of many issues this State will face because of the GOP's failed policies.

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