Friday, December 7, 2012

CPS Looks To Hire Hundreds of New Employees

Posted: Oct 08, 2012 10:16 PM Updated: Oct 15, 2012 10:16 PM

By Chris Holmstrom - email

Arizona's Child Protective Services (CPS) is on a mission to hire hundreds of new employees. 

According to the Arizona Republic, the Department of Economic Security submitted a $49 million budget request in an effort to hire at least 200 more case workers for family, adoption and foster care services.

The report says that CPS is unable to keep pace with its growing case load and is overwhelmed by record number of abuse reports, foster children and back-logged cases. In fact, the number of kids in the child welfare system has gone up to 14,000 from 10,000 in the past three years.

As a result, thousands of cases are not being investigated, while families are waiting for visitation, counseling and other services that could help them reunite.

Regina Lopez, whose kids were taken away from her fifteen months ago, told us that she's been having a hard time just visiting her children due to the short-staffed situations at CPS. "Visitations don't happen as often as they should because transportation gets messed up very often, and because they are so short-staffed, they can't provide extra visits no matter if you're doing as good as I have in my case," she said.

The local administrations are having difficulties at the same time. According to Susie Huhn, the executive director of Casa de Los Ninos, the budget request is very critical to the current system. "It's really hard to be supportive of families when case workers are carrying two and three times the amount of family cases that they should be," she said.

The budget remains to be reviewed by the state legislature for approval.

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