Thursday, January 3, 2013

Action Plan

http://azgovernor.gov/cps/documents/action_plan3.pdf

 

 

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         Governor Janet Napolitano

Action Plan for Reform of Arizona’s

            Child Protection System

                September 30, 2003

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                                                            STATE OF ARIZONA

JANET NAPOLITANO                                       OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR                                  MAIN PHONE: 602-542-4331

     GOVERNOR                        1700 WEST WASHINGTON STREET, PHOENIX, AZ                     85007          FACSIMILE: 602-542-7601

September 30, 2003

Dear Fellow Arizonans:

The system for protecting Arizona’s children from abuse and neglect, which has been falling apart for years due to

poor   design   and   chronic   under-funding,   is   in   critical   need   of   repair.   Recent   tragedies   involving   drug-endangered

infants,   families   with   a   history   of   chronic   neglect,   and   sexual   exploitation  of   minors,   underscore   the   urgency   for

reform. While no government agency or person can prevent every parent or caretaker from harming his or her child,

collectively we can do much better for our children and families.

In January, I created the Advisory Commission on CPS Reform to make recommendations on how Arizona can better

carry   out   its   mission   of  serving   the   best  interests   of  children,   particularly   those   most   in  need    of  protection.   I

encouraged       this   Commission      to   make    recommendations         that  focused    on   improved     outcomes      for  the   safety,

permanency and well being of our children. Over the past few months, this Commission, comprised of legislators,

representatives       from   the  courts,   advocates,     community      providers,    agency    directors,   and    law  enforcement      has

developed recommendations on numerous issues related to child protection and child welfare.

In addition, the full Commission formed seven subcommittees that addressed specific issues related to reports and

investigations, records and hearings, juvenile justice, overall CPS structure, health care, including behavioral health,

education, and CPS and the community. The membership of these groups included many community participants

that play key roles in children’s lives, such as foster and adoptive parents, advocates, mentors and other volunteers.

More than 80 meetings were held and over 260 people from across the state participated.

Their    work    has   now    been   completed      and   more    than   200    recommendations        from    both   the  Commission       and

subcommittees   have   been   submitted.   The   recommendations   cover   areas   from   the   prevention   of   child   abuse   to

adoption and other permanency options. The final Report provides detailed recommendations on how to improve the

delivery of services to children and families from all state agencies and the community.  I thank them for their hard

work and dedication to developing such a detailed and comprehensive set of recommendations.

In   August,    I  hired  David    Berns    to  be  the  new    Director  of   the   Department      of  Economic     Security,   the   agency

responsible      for  Child   Protective    Services.    Mr.   Berns    recently   served    as   the  Director   of  the   El  Paso    County

Department of Human Services in Colorado and prior to that as the Director of the Office of Children’s Services for

Michigan’s   child   welfare   agency.   He   brings   to   Arizona   a  national   reputation   for   finding   innovative   ways   to   deliver

excellent human services in highly cost-effective ways.

Over the past month, I have hosted three public forums to seek more input into the reforms necessary to improve

child protection and child welfare. DES Director Berns was also there to listen to community concerns. More than 600

people     attended    these    hearings    and   120    offered   testimony.    My   office   has   also   received    hundreds     of  written

comments, which Mr. Berns and I have read, offering common sense solutions to improve the CPS system.

I have listened to the recommendations and comments and am now pleased to respond with my detailed Action Plan.

The Action Plan for Reform of Arizona’s Child Protection System sets forth my priorities for immediately addressing

the   problems   within   the   CPS   system   and   the   challenges   faced   by   families   in   accessing   child   welfare   services.   A

summary of the Plan, with the required changes and expected time frames, is set forth at pages 1, 2 and 3. The full

Action   Plan   follows   and   addresses   six   areas:   (1)   ensuring  a   multi-disciplinary   response   to   reports   of   abuse   and

neglect;   (2)   preventing   child   abuse   and  neglect;   (3)   clarifying   the   mission   and   role   of   CPS;   (4)   ensuring   effective

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delivery of services to children and families; (5) providing adequate support for children and families served by the

system as well as those who provide services; and (6) increasing community involvement. Each of these areas is

equally important to effective system reform and, therefore, should not be considered as ranked in order of priority.

Also, the many detailed recommendations of the Commission and subcommittees will not be lost; wherever possible

those ideas will be implemented as part of carrying out this Action Plan.

Change for the simple sake of change is not appropriate. Each change is focused on improved outcomes as to child

safety   and   child   and   family   well   being.   We   must   ask   as   a   result   of   our   efforts,   are   children   safer?   Are   families

provided services more effectively and efficiently? Are fewer families in need of assistance from the child protection

system? Page 12 of the Action Plan identifies specific indicators of improvement in Arizona’s child welfare system,

which will serve as a basis for tracking, evaluating and, as appropriate, adjusting our efforts to reform the system.

CPS must have sufficient funding to operate the full range of successful and necessary child welfare and protection

programs. Arizona’s legislature must finally commit to fund what has become a chronically neglected child welfare

agency.   As   I   speak,    CPS   caseworkers   lack       even   the   basic   tools   to   do   their   jobs  adequately   –   car   seats   for

transporting children and cell phones for when they are conducting investigations. But most troubling are the heavy

caseloads our CPS caseworkers are facing today. We need to bring these caseloads down so that each child is given

the time he or she deserves and so that a child in an unsafe condition is not overlooked.

For years CPS has received less funding than was required to meet the needs of Arizona’s children. This year was

no   exception:   just   to   be   able   to   continue   providing   services   at   the   current   levels,   CPS   requires   a   supplemental

appropriation of $27 million. To bring the caseloads to national standards and ensure that all reports of abuse and

neglect are investigated, an additional $8.5 million is needed.

The need for this increase should not come as a surprise. For the past several years, the State Foster Care Review

Board   has   recognized   the   chronic   lack   of   funding   in   its   annual   reports.   Earlier   this   year   the   Maricopa   County

Attorney’s Office released a report on the CPS system, In Harm’s Way, which also illustrates this State’s historic lack

of   funding   with   more   than   a   dozen   of   its   recommendations   requiring   a   significant   funding   increase   to   effectively

protect children.

Many of the action steps set forth in the Action Plan   will result in immediate improvements to the child protection

system. I recognize, however, that not all of the problems are quick fixes. Some steps, particularly those calling for

increased   funding  and   changes   to   existing   law,   will   take   some   time   to   complete   and   require   the   support   of   our

legislature. One thing is   certain –   we cannot   wait to implement these recommended changes in stages. We must

begin to implement all of them now.

Concrete reform of the child protection system must be engineered by those individuals who do the direct, day to day

work with the children and families, including CPS case managers and supervisors, law enforcement officials, foster

and adoptive families, and community based providers. These critical partners must be an integral part of each action

set forth in my Plan. Moreover, as already demonstrated by the tremendous interest Arizonans have shown in this

process, our local communities and neighborhoods should also be key players in this effort. I encourage all of you to

look for ways you can personally contribute to improving the lives of Arizona’s children and families.

                                                            Yours very truly,

                                                            Governor Janet Napolitano

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                                                    Summary of Action Plan

                                 for the Reform of Arizona’s Child Protection System

ACTION                                                                CHANGE(S) REQUIRED              TIME FRAME

Implement a Multi-Disciplinary Response to Reports of Abuse and Neglect

Require Joint Investigation by CPS and Law Enforcement of All         Amend Law*                   Legislation proposed October 2003

Reports of Felony Abuse and Neglect

Require Referral by Law Enforcement of Criminal Abuse Cases to        Amend Law*                   Legislation proposed October 2003

County Attorney for Prosecution and Review of Those Cases by

County Attorney within 90 days

Expand Use of Arizona’s Child Advocacy Centers                        Identify Funding Sources     Initial identification by October 2004

Co-Locate Law Enforcement, Behavioral Health, and Domestic            New Policy and Practice      Initial sites operating by March 2004

Violence Professionals in CPS Offices

Require CPS to Investigate all Reports of Abuse and Neglect           Allocate Funding             Initial commitment made by

                                                                                                   legislature October 2003

Require Use of Professional Risk Assessment Tool by CPS Case          Revise CPS Policy            Tool implemented beginning in

Managers                                                                                           January 2004

Standardize the Reporting Process for Mandatory Reporters             Revise CPS Policy            New process operating by March

                                                                                                   2004

Develop a Statewide Prevention System

Clarify Mission and Role of Child Protective Services

Expand Healthy Families Arizona                                       Allocate Funding              Legislation proposed January 2004.

                                                                      Amend Law*                    Additional commitment made by

                                                                                                    legislature July 2004

Develop a Model for Addressing Issues of Safety, Poverty and          New Policy and Practice       Policies operating by March 2004

Economic Security for Children and Families

Support Intervention Strategies for Older Children                    Evaluate Funding Priorities   Evaluation to begin January 2004

Inventory Prevention Programs to Identify Unmet Need and              None                          Inventory Created by March 2004

Strengthen Existing Services

Amend Definition of Child Protective Services to Clarify Role         Amend Law*                    Legislation proposed October 2003

Establish Alcohol and Drug Abuse as a Factor in Determining Child     Amend Law                     Legislation proposed October 2003

Abuse/Neglect and Develop Medical Protocols to Identify                                             and request for national protocol

Substance Exposed Newborns and Treat Appropriately                                                  already submitted

Modify the Legal Standards for Substantiating Abuse/Neglect and       Amend Law*                    Legislation proposed October 2003

Allow Central Registry to Be Checked for Employment Purposes

*Changes required would address Arizona Revised Statutes and would require conforming rules, changes to policy and training.

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                                                  Summary of Action Plan

                                for the Reform of Arizona’s Child Protection System

ACTION                                                                CHANGE(S) REQUIRED              TIME FRAME

Deliver Timely, Effective Services to Children and Families

Provide Adequate Support for Both Children and Families Served by the System and Those Who Provide Services

Ensure Immediate Behavioral Health Assessments of Children           Revise BHS Policy            Policy effective by September

Who Have Been Removed from Their Homes                                                            2003

Ensure Immediate Delivery of Health Care and Behavioral Health       New Policies and Practice    New policies operating by July

Care to Children Involved with CPS                                                                2004

Maximize Draw Down of Federal Funds and Apply for All Available      Enhanced Policy and          New policies operating by March

Grants                                                               Practice                     2004

Ensure Delivery of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services by           Enhanced Policy and          New policies operating by July

Replicating the Arizona Families F.I.R.S.T. Model                    Practice                     2004

Amend Education Laws to Meet Needs of Children in the CPS            Amend Law*                   Legislation proposed January

System                                                                                            2004

Rewrite Confidentiality Laws To Allow Information to be Shared       Amend Law*                   Legislation proposed by October

with Those Having a Legitimate Interest                                                           2003

Manage DES to Improve Access to All Services and Co-locate           New  DES Practice            Initial sites operating by July 2004

Community Partners, Including Domestic Violence Specialists and

Faith-Based Organizations, within the Agency

Strengthen DES Local Advisory Boards By Creating Community           New DES Practice             Plans to be written by July 2004

Network Teams to Provide for Appropriate Services in Local

Communities

Reduce CPS Caseloads to Match National Standards So                  Allocate Funding             Initial commitment made by

Investigations and Appropriate Follow-up Can Be Accomplished                                      legislature October 2003

Ensure Appropriate Classification and Support of CPS Case            Allocate Funding             Initial commitment made by

Managers                                                                                          legislature October 2003

Provide Supportive Services for CPS Case Managers to Retain a        Enhanced    Policy and       New policies operating by July

Professional Workforce and Recruit New Workers                       Practice                     2004

Revise and Expand Training Opportunities for Case Managers,          Enhanced    Policy and       New policies operating by July

Supervisors and Related Staff                                        Practice                     2004

Increase Reimbursement Rates for Foster Parents                      Allocate Funding             Initial commitment made by

                                                                                                  legislature July 2004

Revise the Foster Care System to Retain Quality Foster Families      Enhanced CPS Policy and      New policies operating and

and Recruit More Families Meeting Cultural and Other Special         Practice                     recruitment efforts launched by

Needs of Children                                                                                 March 2004

Create Alternatives to Filing a Formal Dependency Case That          New Law*                     Legislation proposed by January

Require Families to Participate in Services                                                       2004

Develop Intensive Family Reunification Services                      Enhanced CPS Practice        New practice identified by

                                                                                                  October 2004

Create Mentoring Program for Foster Youth Transitioning into         Enhanced CPS Policy and      New policies operating by

Adulthood                                                            Practice                     January 2004

Stabilize Placements and Enhance Systems of Support to               Enhanced CPS Policy and      Policies operating by March 2004

Maintain Permanent Homes                                             Practice

Respect Kinship Placements and Involve Them More in Decision-        Enhanced    Policy and       Policies operating by March 2004

making for the Child and Family                                      Practice

*Changes required would address Arizona Revised Statutes and would require conforming rules, changes to policy and training.

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                                                  Summary of Action Plan

                                for the Reform of Arizona’s Child Protection System

ACTION                                                              CHANGE(S) REQUIRED             TIME FRAME

Increase Community Involvement in the Child Welfare System

Expand Role of Community Volunteers, Including Faith-Based            New CPS Policy and          Policies operating by March 2004

Organizations                                                         Practice

Support Consumer Involvement in Design and Oversight of the CPS       Enhanced CPS Policy and     Policies operating by January

System and Improve Response to All Constituents, Including            Practice                    2004

Awareness of the Ombudsman Office

Organize a State Foster Youth Advisory Board and Ensure They          Appoint Board               Board operating by January 2004

Have A Voice in Implementing Changes to the System

Partner with National Groups to Implement State of the Art Practices  Enhanced CPS Policy and     Establish initial partnerships by

Shown to Improve Safety, Permanency and Well-being                    Practice                    January 2004

Appoint an Advisory Committee Responsible for Oversight of the        Appoint Committee           Committee appointed by

Implementation of This Action Plan                                                                November 2003

Support Process for Continued Public Input                            New Practice                Ongoing

Improve Public Awareness and Education about CPS                      New Policies and Practice   Policies operating by January

                                                                                                  2004

Expand Open Hearing Pilot to Rural Locations                          Amend Law*                  Legislation proposed by October

                                                                                                  2003

Keep Members of the Public Informed as to Progress of Reform          New Practice                Updates provided regularly

*Changes required would address Arizona Revised Statutes and would require conforming rules, changes to policy and training.

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        Create a Multi-Disciplinary Response to Reports of Abuse and Neglect

Arizona   must   adopt   a   response   system,   that   provides            severe      abuse     and    neglect    situations.    By    bringing

for the joint investigation of CPS and law enforcement                       together     all  relevant    disciplines    at  one    time,   these

on the most serious, high risk cases of child abuse and                      Centers     reduce     the  need    for multiple   interviews     that

neglect      and    appropriate     coordination      of  CPS      and       may re-traumatize and re-victimize the child and provide

community   based   providers   on   lower   risk   cases.   We              a   forum   for   quickly   determining   what   services   a   child

must     develop     investigative   processes      that   are  multi-       and   family   needs.   We   must   identify   additional   funding

disciplinary,       incorporating       as     appropriate       other       sources for these centers through cities, counties, and

professions       such    as  medical     and    behavioral     health       federal   grant   opportunities   with   the   goal   of   expanding

personnel and domestic violence specialists.                                 the   number     of  cases   these   Advocacy   Centers         serve

                                                                             and opening new centers in areas that are not currently

Action 1.0: Require Joint Investigations by CPS and                          supported by one.

Law Enforcement.

I   will  propose    legislation   in  the   special   session    that       Action 1.3: Co-Locate Law Enforcement, Behavioral

requires   joint   investigations   by   CPS   investigators   and           Health,     and     Domestic      Violence      Professionals       in

law     enforcement      officers    on   all  reports    where    the       CPS Offices.

allegation     if  true   would    constitute    felony    abuse     or      To    further   the  ability  for  CPS     and   law   enforcement

neglect.     This    legislation    will  require   that   a   written       agencies   to   do   joint   investigations,   I   am   inviting   local

interagency protocol be implemented within 90 days in                        law enforcement agencies to co-locate law enforcement

each   county   by   the   county   attorney,   law   enforcement            officers     in   designated       CPS      investigative     offices,

agencies,   and   CPS   investigative   offices   in   that   region.        particularly    in   urban    areas    that  are   not   adequately

Each     protocol    must    set  forth  specific   procedures      for      served      by   a   Child    Advocacy      Center.     I  am     also

joint   investigations,     including     a  simple     process     for      extending        the     invitation     to    behavioral       health

notification     of   reports,     standards      for   investigating        professionals and domestic violence specialists.

specific types of abuse and neglect (including response

timelines),      provisions     for  information      sharing,    and        Action 1.4: Require CPS to Investigate all Reports of

directions      for   coordinating      with   other    professional         Abuse and Neglect.

disciplines.    These protocols must be reviewed annually                    CPS       must     ensure      that    an     appropriate      safety

in   cooperation   with   the   Governor’s   Children’s   Justice            assessment        has   been     conducted      on   all  reports   of

Task   Force.   This   legislation   must   also   mandate   multi-          potential      abuse       and     neglect,      including      those

disciplinary   training   of   both   professionals   and   require          categorized      as   low   risk.  To  achieve    this,  l  will  seek

enhanced       training   of  law   enforcement      officials  in  an       additional state general funding in the special session in

understanding        of   CPS     policies    and    practices     and       the   amount   of   $3,773,000,   which   when   combined   with

enhanced        training   of  CPS     investigators     in  forensic        available   federal   dollars   will   fund   142   additional   CPS

interviewing      and   processes.  This      legislation   will  help       investigators   and   staff.   These   additional   investigators

ensure      the  collection    of  evidence     in  a   coordinated,         will allow CPS to be the first responder on all reports in

timely manner to all reports of potential criminal abuse.                    order    to   investigate    whether     children    are   safe   and

                                                                             assess     the   level  of  risk  to  the   children.   When     CPS

Action   1.1:   Require   Referral   of   Criminal   Abuse   to              intervention     is  required    due   to  safety   issues    for  the

County Attorney for Prosecution.                                             child, services to reduce future risk shall be specified in

I   will  propose    legislation  in   the   special   session    that       a   family   service   plan   that   is   developed   to   the   extent

requires law enforcement agencies to refer all cases for                     possible   with   input   from   the   family.   The   plan   shall   be

which   there   is   probable   cause   to   believe   that   criminal       individualized   for   each   member   of   the   family  and   may

abuse      has   occurred     to  county     attorney    officials  for      involve an array of services including, but not limited to,

prosecution.     County attorney officials will be required to               out   of  home     placement;     intensive    in  home     services,

review each of those cases and report back to the law                        court    ordered    community      or  agency     interventions,    or

enforcement   agency  and   CPS   as   to   the   disposition   of           non-court   ordered   services agreed   to   by  CPS   and   the

that referral within 90 days.                                                family. Services may be provided directly by CPS staff,

                                                                             by     contracted      providers,      by    other    agencies      or

Action       1.2:    Expand       Use     of    Arizona’s       Child        community resources, or arranged and paid for directly

Advocacy Centers.                                                            by   the   family.   Inability   to   arrange   required,   non-court

There   are   currently   eleven     child   advocacy   centers   in         ordered   services,   refusal   of   such  services   or   failure   to

Arizona,   which co-locate key disciplines such as CPS,                      comply with non-court ordered services may be reason

law     enforcement,       prosecutors,       medical     personnel,         to   seek   court   intervention.   If   safety  issues   are   of   such

psychologists, and domestic violence specialists, under                      low    risk  that   services    can    be   voluntary    or  can    be

one     roof  who    share    responsibility    for  responding      to      rejected     by  the   family,   CPS     may    make     referrals   to

                                                                             available community resources.

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        Create a Multi-Disciplinary Response to Reports of Abuse and Neglect

Action      1.5:   Require      Use     of   Professional       Risk       Action   1.6:   Standardize   the   Reporting   Process   for

Assessment Tool.                                                           Mandatory Reporters.

CPS      is   developing,      in  coordination      with   national       Arizona     law   requires    doctors,   school    personnel     and

consultants,   a   new   tool   for   assessing   risk   to   a   child,   certain other professionals to report abuse and neglect

which     will  be   implemented        statewide    beginning      in     to   CPS.     While   these    reporters    may    be   extensively

Maricopa County in January 2004. This tool   will assist                   involved   in   the   family's   life,   there   is   no   standardized

CPS case managers in providing an appropriate service                      process or tool for making the report, nor a process for

delivery response based on the level of risk to the child,                 informing   the   mandatory   reporter   that   an   investigation

including the severity, chronicity, and immediacy of risk,                 has   been   completed   or   of   its   results.   I   have   directed

rather    than   a  response     focused    solely   on  a   specific      CPS   to   work   with   a   team   of   representatives   from   the

incident of child abuse or neglect.                                        professions   who   are   mandated   reporters   to   design   a

                                                                           standardized   process,   including   training,   and   begin   its

                                                                           use by March 2004.

                                     Develop Statewide Prevention System

Reforming the child welfare system, requires an entire                     per year or less is 22 times more likely to be in the child

rethinking   of   how   and   when   services   are   delivered   to       welfare system as a family with an income of $30,000

children    and    families.   Services    must   be   provided    to      per year or more. DES deals with issues of poverty in

families who may be at risk of child maltreatment before                   many of its program areas but often these services are

that   abuse   or   neglect   ever   occurs   and   outside   of   the     not readily available to high risk or vulnerable families.

stigma that is often associated with the child protection                  DES Director David Berns developed approaches in his

system.      Moreover,      since    poverty     can    be   a   key       previous      positions     that   transformed      the   economic

contributing factor to child abuse and neglect, we must                    support programs into the primary prevention and early

connect       families     with     child    care,     employment          intervention     programs     for  at   risk  families.  Mr.   Berns’

opportunities      and   nutritional   assistance     as   soon    as      main     charge    is  to  work   with   his  staff  and   with   the

those     needs    are   identified.   Unfortunately,     Arizona’s        communities       throughout     Arizona    to  develop    our   own

prevention      programs      serve    only   a   fraction   of   the      model      for  addressing     issues   of   safety,  poverty    and

children and families that could benefit from prevention                   economic   security   for   all  children   and   families   in   our

services.     The   Legislature    must    recognize     that  these       state.    The    resources     of   the   entire   Department      of

programs       are    the   most    cost    effective    means     of      Economic Security must be invested in the safety and

improving outcomes for Arizona’s children and families                     well being of children and their families.

and contribute state dollars accordingly.

                                                                           Action      2.2:   Support      Intervention      Strategies      for

Action 2.0: Expand Healthy Families Arizona.                               Older Children

To begin the shift to a statewide prevention system, in                    I   have     directed    the   Juvenile    Justice    Commission,

the 2004 legislative session,  I will propose that funding                 responsible   for   funding   efforts   aimed   at   improving   the

for Healthy Families Arizona be doubled. This nationally                   juvenile justice system, to develop strategies for linking

recognized      program     provides    a   statewide    system    of      delinquency prevention efforts and child welfare reform.

home visitation services for families with newborns that                   This includes advising policies concerning children who

builds   on   family   strengths,   promotes   health,   optimizes         are dual wards of the State and exploring how to better

child    development,       and    prevents    child   abuse     and       coordinate      state   and   federal   funding    to  serve   these

neglect. I also will propose legislation to amend the law                  children.

to allow the Healthy Families program to serve families

that may have a prior substantiated report of abuse or                     Action      2.3:    Inventory      Prevention       Programs       to

neglect and to provide services during pregnancy.                          Identify      Unmet      Need     and     Strengthen       Existing

                                                                           Services

Action 2.1: Develop a Model for Addressing Issues                          I   have    directed   staff  in  my   office   to  work    with  the

of   Safety,   Poverty   and      Economic   Security   for       All      members        of   my    Children’s    Cabinet     to   create    an

Children and Families.                                                     inventory   of   all   prevention   programs   for   children   and

The vast majority of families in the child welfare system                  families,    particularly   those  funded     through    federal   or

have     significant    economic      problems.      The    National       private grants, and identify how these programs may be

Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect published                       strengthened        by   pulling   the   programs      and    dollars

by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services                        together, where appropriate.

(1996)   states   that   a   family   with   an   income   of   $15,000

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                        Clarify Mission and Role of Child Protective Services

Arizona   must   give   clear   direction   to   CPS   investigators         parent,      guardian     or   custodian     has    abused      and/or

and     case    managers,      law   enforcement       officials,  and       neglected      a   child,  including    newborns      and   infants.   I

mandatory   professional   reporters   -   as   well   as   to   the         have also directed CPS to work with Arizona’s medical

community        -  regarding     the   role  of   Child   Protective        organizations,   including   hospitals,   to   develop   medical

Services. Current laws must be modified to be sure the                       protocols      to  identify  substance-exposed          newborns      in

message is consistent.                                                       order   to   provide   adequate   care   and   safety   for   these

                                                                             particular     children   at  risk.  Following     the  work    of  the

Action 3.0: Clarify Role of CPS.                                             Governor’s        Commission,       a   request     for   a   national

I will propose legislation in the special session to amend                   protocol      has   already     been    made     to   the   American

the    definition   of  Child   Protective     Services    in  A.R.S.        Academy of Pediatrics by its Arizona Chapter.

section   8-801   to   reflect   that   the   mission   of   CPS   is   to

assess   the   safety   of   children   and   intervene   to   protect       Action       3.2:    Modify      the     Legal     Standards        for

children from harm. This definition must emphasize the                       Substantiating Reports of Abuse or Neglect.

role    of  CPS    in  ensuring     the  ongoing     best   interests,       I will propose legislation in the special session to modify

safety     and    protection     of  a   child   from    foreseeable         the   legal   standards   for   substantiating   reports   of abuse

danger,      including     the   coordination      of   services     to      or    neglect.    This   legislation    will  provide    for  a   legal

strengthen   the   family   unit   and   prevent,   intervene   and          standard   (probable   cause)   in   finding   that   a   child   has

treat child abuse and neglect.                                               been      abused     or   neglected     and    a   higher    standard

                                                                             (preponderance of the evidence) in actually naming the

Action 3.1: Establish Substance Abuse As A Factor                            perpetrator      that   caused     the   abuse     or   neglect    and

in Determining Abuse/Neglect and Develop Medical                             entering   that   person’s   name   on   a   centralized   registry.

Protocols For Substance Exposed Newborns.                                    This     higher    standard     will allow     for  the   centralized

I will propose legislation in the special session to amend                   registry     to  be   checked      for   state   agency     licensing,

the definitions of abuse/ neglect in A.R.S. section 8-201                    contracting      and   employment        in  both   the   public   and

to   clarify   that   alcohol   and   drug   abuse   is   a   factor   that  private   sector   when   a   person   applies   to   work   directly

must   be   considered   by  CPS   in   determining   whether   a            with children.

                   Deliver Timely, Effective Services to Children and Families

Arizona      must    transform     its  currently     isolated    child      assessments.   Last   month,   Behavioral   Health   Services

welfare      system     into   an    integrated     system,     which        implemented        a   new    policy   that  requires    its  contract

provides timely, effective services that are driven by the                   providers to respond to a request from CPS for an initial

needs   of   each   child   and   family.   Child   welfare   clients        assessment of the child within 24 hours of being notified

often require a multi-agency system response to   meet                       that   a   child   has   been   removed   from   his   or   her   home.

their   needs.     Last   January,     I  created    the   Children’s        Previously, it took the providers as long as 30 days to

Cabinet,   made   up   of   (1)   directors   from   state   agencies        respond.

that   serve   children,   including   DES,   the   Department   of

Health      Services      (DHS),      AHCCCS         (the   Medicaid         Action      4.1:   Ensure     Immediate       Delivery     of  Health

agency)       and    the   Arizona     Department       of   Juvenile        Care      and     Behavioral       Health     Care     to   Children

Corrections (ADJC), (2) representatives from the court,                      Involved with CPS.

and     (3)   the   Department       of  Education,      to  improve          I  have    instructed    the  Directors    of   the  four   agencies

delivery   of   services   to   Arizona’s   children   and   families.       responsible for delivering health care to children in CPS

Each of these agency heads must instruct their staff to                      care     -  DES,    DHS,    AHCCCS        and    ADJC     -  to  make

deliver timely, accessible services across the agencies                      delivery of these services to this vulnerable population a

for children involved in the CPS system that recognize                       top    priority.   Specifically,    I  have    directed    DES     and

the rich cultural diversity of this state (including twenty-                 AHCCCS         to  maximize      Medicaid     reimbursements        for

one       federally     recognized        Indian      Tribes),      the      children     in   the   foster   care   system;     the   goal   is   to

disproportionate   representation   of   children   of   color   in          increase   the   percentage   of   children   who   qualify   from

the   foster   care   system,   and   the   challenges   presented           80% to the 90%. DES and AHCCCS must ensure that

by Arizona’s geographic expanse.                                             health   care   services   for   children   who   come   into   CPS

                                                                             care     with  an   existing    AHCCCS       health    plan   are   not

Action      4.0:   Ensure     Immediate       Behavioral       Health        disrupted.   Working   with   the   county   juvenile   probation

Assessments of Children Who Have Been Removed                                departments,        the  agencies      must    address    the   health

from Their Homes.                                                            care   needs   of   children   in   both   the   CPS   and   juvenile

Children     who    have    been    removed      from   their  homes         justice system. I have also instructed DES and DHS to

must       have     access      to   timely     behavioral      health       expand   current   efforts   to   co-locate   in   designated   CPS

                                                                         6

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             Deliver Timely, Effective Services to Children and Families (cont)

offices     behavioral     health    professionals,      particularly       serve   as   a   surrogate   parent   (to   help   a   child   receive

those   with   authority  to   make   decisions   regarding   what          special    education     services)  when     a   child  is  involved

services can be provided. Contracts with networks that                      with the CPS system.

provide     behavioral    health    services    must   require    that

providers have an understanding of the unique service                       Action     4.5:   Rewrite     Confidentiality       Laws     So   All

needs of children in foster care.                                           Information   Can   Be   Shared   With   Those   Having   a

                                                                            Legitimate Interest.

Action 4.2: Maximize Draw Down of Federal Funds                             I will propose legislation in the special session to amend

and Apply for All Available Grants.                                         state    laws   regarding    confidentiality    of  CPS     records,

I   have   instructed   DES,  DHS,   AHCCCS   and   ADJC   to               which    are   currently    confusing,    complicated,     and    too

determine how Arizona can maximize the draw down of                         restrictive.   The   legislation will   ensure   that   records   and

non-capped,        federal   funds,    including    increasing    the       information      are    promptly     shared     in   a   safe    and

federal    financial   participation    for  services   to  children        responsible   manner   with   persons   having   a   legitimate

who are in both the CPS and delinquency systems. This                       need     for   the   information,    including    foster    families,

includes   active   participation   of   the   agency  directors   at       providers, educators, and other state agencies.

the national level regarding proposed improvements to

the    current   federal   financing    mechanisms        governing         Action   4.6:   Manage   DES   To   Improve   Access   to   All

foster     care.     There      are    also     numerous        grant       Services and Co-Locate Community Partners Within

opportunities that have in the past been overlooked by                      the Agency.

this state. I recently organized the Federal Interagency                    I   have   directed   DES   to   combine   different   programs   in

Grant Team to provide a forum for coordinating across                       the   same   office,   such   as   CPS,   employment   services,

state   agencies   efforts   to   identify  and   apply  for   various      child   care   services,   and   programs   for   developmentally

grant   opportunities,   including   those   applicable   to   child        disabled children, and create cross-functional positions

welfare.    DES   will   also   pursue   a   waiver   of   the   federal    to allow clients to have a single point of contact for all

foster care funding (Title IV-E) to draw down additional                    DES programs and services. Several major sites will be

federal support for several of these initiatives.                           fully integrated by July 2004. I have also directed DES

                                                                            to expand the co-location of other child welfare services

Action      4.3:    Improve      Delivery      of   Alcohol      and        and     community       providers     in  its   offices,   including

Substance         Abuse      Services     By    Replicating       the       domestic violence specialists and representatives from

Arizona Families F.I.R.S.T. Model.                                          faith-based organizations, to provide immediate access

I have directed DES and DHS to improve the delivery of                      to   these   community   partners   and   better   opportunities

alcohol and drug abuse services to families who are in                      for one-stop approaches.

the CPS system. Using the Arizona Families F.I.R.S.T.

program as a model, I have instructed the agencies to                       Action 4.7: Strengthen DES Local Advisory Boards

identify  ways   to   redirect   existing   programs   and   dollars        to    Provide      for   Appropriate       Services      in   Local

to ensure that families are receiving the most effective                    Communities.

alcohol     and    substance      abuse     treatment     available.        I   have   instructed   DES   to   create   “Community   Network

Arizona     Families    F.I.R.S.T.   provides     a  continuum      of      Teams” throughout the state; these teams must submit

community-based,          family-centered       substance      abuse        a   written    plan   by   July   2004    to  the   DES     Director

treatment services for parents reported to CPS   whose                      identifying     existing    services,    resources     and     family

substance   abuse   has   been   identified   as   a   significant          supports   within   that   community   (including   all   gaps   in

barrier    to   maintaining      or  reunifying    the    family.   In      those    services)    and    describing    how    that  community

addition     to   core    substance      abuse     treatment     and        proposes to deliver more services and better support for

recovery services, other essential support services are                     children,     including     protocols     for    the   sharing     of

provided to assist the entire family in recovery.                           information.     These    teams     will  be  built  upon   existing

                                                                            DES       Local    Advisory      Boards     and     must     include

Action 4.4: Amend the Education Laws to Meet the                            representatives        from     state    agencies,      community

Needs of Children in the CPS System.                                        providers,     families,   educators,     tribes,   courts,    victim

I will propose legislation in the 2004 regular session to                   advocates       (including    domestic     violence    specialists),

meet the educational needs of children who are in the                       faith-based       and     philanthropic      organizations,      and

child protection system. Traditionally, education has not                   businesses.       These      teams      must     identify   existing

been     coordinated      in  the  child   welfare    system.    The        services      in  local    communities       that   are    currently

legislation   will   eliminate   barriers   that   currently   prevent      underutilized   by   the   child   welfare   system   and   look   to

or    delay    exchange      of  school    records     and    disrupt       blend funds wherever possible not only to broaden and

delivery of consistent school instruction to children who                   strengthen   the   array   of   services   in   local   communities,

are in the care of CPS. This legislation   will clarify and                 but to ensure that all resources are used efficiently.

expand the education laws governing   who may legally

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      Provide Adequate Support for Both Children and Families Served by the

                                  System and Those Who Provide Services

There   are   many   challenges  facing   those   that   provide           assistance   programs   to   help   handle   job   related   stress

support to the CPS System, including CPS investigators                     and     the   emotional     nature    of  their   work.   CPS     will

and case managers carrying caseloads well above the                        continue     to   investigate    reasons    for   case     manager

national     standards    without    the  resources     to  do   their     turnover,      research      best    practices     for   enhancing

jobs, a lack of available foster homes, and inadequate                     retention      and    continuously       monitor     and    improve

support systems for foster families, relative placements,                  performance in this vital area.

and group homes as well as children in the foster care

system. The effect of turnover in these support groups                     Action        5.3:     Revise       and      Expand        Training

often    paralyzes     an   already    fragmented      system    that      Opportunities for Case Managers, Supervisors and

does not respond adequately or timely to the needs of                      Related Staff.

children     and   their  families.   We    must    recognize     the      I have directed CPS to revise its training procedures for

valuable contributions of each of these supports and do                    case     managers,      supervisors     and   related   staff.  CPS

whatever is necessary to keep them as partners in our                      must provide quality training for new and existing staff,

child       welfare       system,       including        adequate          which      includes     quality    supervision      and    practical

reimbursements,         appropriate      assistance      and    open       classroom       exercises,     such    as   use    of   technology,

communication.                                                             preparation of court reports, processes for referrals and

                                                                           interviewing   skills.  I   have   directed   CPS   to   expand   its

Action      5.0:    Reduce      CPS     Caseloads        to   Match        mentoring      program      to  match    new    and    experienced

National        Standards         So      Investigations         and       managers, to revise its Child Welfare Training Institute

Appropriate Follow-up Can Be Accomplished.                                 to   provide   additional   practical   skills,   and   to   require   all

I am  requesting additional state general funding in the                   CPS      staff  to  receive    at  least   24   hours    of  training

special    session    in  the   amount     of  $1,953,500,     which       annually     after  the   first  year  of  employment.       Special

when      combined      with    federal   dollars    will  fund    93      emphasis must be given to improving supervisory skills

additional     staff   to  meet     Child   Welfare     League      of     to   assure    consistent     implementation      of  training   and

America      caseload     standards:    one   caseworker      for  12      practice statewide. Supervisors must know the training

CPS investigations each month; one caseworker for 15                       content and reinforce the knowledge, skills and abilities

children in out of home care; and one caseworker for 17                    in   daily  practice.   To   accomplish   this,   I   have   instructed

cases receiving in home services. The CWLA standards                       CPS to ensure the consistent delivery of the supervisor

are   the   most   relevant   and   accepted   criteria   currently        core    curriculum     and   develop    a   continuing    education

available. These funds will also ensure that each CPS                      program   specifically   focused   on   the   CPS   supervisors'

case manager has a cell phone and infant car seats. I                      professional development needs.

have   directed   DES   to   work     with   DOA   to   deliver   any

reductions in state car fleets from other state agencies                   Action      5.4:   Increase      Reimbursement          Rates     for

to    CPS.    I  am    also   requesting     $103,500      to  make        Foster Parents.

technology improvements.                                                   I   am  requesting   $1,010,700   in  the   special   session   to

                                                                           increase     the   reimbursement       rates  for  foster   parents,

Action      5.1:  Ensure      Appropriate      Classification      of      which   have   not   increased   since   1996,   to   more   nearly

CPS Case Managers.                                                         reflect the cost of care.

I am working with CPS and DOA to ensure that all CPS

case   managers   and   supervisory   staff,   including   those           Action 5.5: Revise the Foster Care System to Retain

with   bilingual   abilities,   are  appropriately   classified   and      Quality   Foster   Families   and   Recruit   More   Families

paid    accordingly.    I  am   requesting     $1,665,000  in     the      that    Meet    Cultural     and    Other    Special     Needs     of

special session for this compensation and classification.                  Children.

                                                                           I have directed CPS to revise the foster care system to

Action     5.2.   Provide    Supportive       Services     for  CPS        ensure     retention    and   recruitment    of  safe   and   stable

Case Managers to Retain a Professional Workforce                           foster    families.   Toward    this  effort,  CPS     has   already

and Recruit New Workers.                                                   streamlined its application process, including arranging

I   have   instructed   CPS   to   provide   case   managers   with        for all home inspections to be conducted through DES

necessary   support   services   to   carry   out   their   difficult      instead of DHS. CPS must also focus on ways to retain

responsibilities.   CPS   will   continue   to   assess   ways   to        good foster homes by providing adequate respite care,

streamline   its   case   management   processes,   eliminate              ensuring that all available information about the child is

unproductive       tasks   and    assign    appropriate    tasks    to     shared   with   the   foster   parents,   and   providing   effective

support     workers.    The    department     has   engaged      staff     training (both developmental and hands on). By March

and   community   partners   in   this   review   process.   CPS           2004, CPS will launch, in coordination with my office, a

must   also   ensure   that   staff   has   access   to   employee         statewide   campaign   to   recruit   and   retain   more   foster

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      Provide Adequate Support for Both Children and Families Served by the

                            System and Those Who Provide Services (cont.)

families    that   meet   the  ethnic,   cultural,  linguistic,  and       foster youth make these important connections. CPS is

special needs of children. CPS will include faith-based                    already  developing   information   on   its   web   page   for   its

organizations   in   this   effort.   Additionally,   my   office   and    teenage      population     regarding    how    to   access    these

CPS will continue to support the newly created Arizona                     services. CPS is also implementing a youth mentoring

Association   for   Foster   and   Adoptive   Parents,   which   is        program to match youth in foster care and independent

the    collective   voice   for  foster  and    adoptive    parents.       living programs with those that have left foster care.

Their work is key to creating awareness about the need

for foster parents, to effectively recruiting new families,                Action      5.9:   Stabilize     Placements        and    Enhance

and to enhancing mutual cooperation, coordination and                      Systems of Support to Maintain Permanent Homes.

communication between CPS and foster parents.                              CPS   must   keep   children   who   are   removed   from   their

                                                                           homes       with    extended     families    and    in   their   own

Action       5.6:    Create       Alternatives        to     Formal        neighborhoods        when     safe.   This   will  sustain   existing

Dependency That Require Families to Participate in                         relationships      with   teachers,     friends   and    neighbors.

Services.                                                                  When children need to be placed outside of their home

I   will  propose    legislation   in the   special   session   that       community,       efforts  should    be   made     to  maintain    this

provides      for  an   alternative    to  filing  a   dependency          home      as   the   sole   placement      for  the   child.  These

petition where short term intervention appears likely to                   supports      include    (1)   consideration      of  all  potential

resolve risk issues and a parent or guardian stipulates                    placements        with  kin;   (2)  recruitment     of  foster   and

to   a   case   plan   and   participation   in   services.   Unlike   a   adoptive   homes   that   match   the   child’s   cultural,   ethnic

pure   voluntary   arrangement,   however,   this   alternative            and linguistic needs; (3) expedited court processes; and

will  provide    for  “protective  supervision”      through    court      (4)   adequate   behavioral   health   care   supports   for   both

oversight and the option for further court intervention if                 the   family   and   the   child.   Transitional   support   services

a parent refuses or fails to comply with services.                         that are responsive to the ongoing needs of the children

                                                                           and their birth, kinship and adoptive parents, must also

Action:       5.7:    Develop        Intensive      Reunification          be provided. For some children, family foster homes are

Services.                                                                  not available or appropriate placements. When children

I have instructed CPS to develop more services aimed                       need   to   be   placed   in   shelters   or   group   homes,   CPS

at   providing   “transition”   and   “aftercare”   to   families   for    must     share    information     about    the   child  with   these

children returned home to assure safety and success of                     placements       and    must    recognize     and   respect    these

the reunification. These services must be individualized                   providers as child welfare professionals.

and supported by increased coordination with extended

family, neighbors and local community supports.                            Action 5.10: Respect Kinship Placements.

                                                                           Comments        at  the   public  forums     illustrate  how   many

Action     5.8:   Create    Mentoring      Program      for  Foster        relatives,   including   grandparents,       do   not   feel   valued,

Youth Who are Transitioning into Adulthood.                                respected or trusted by the current child welfare system

Foster   youth   who   have   reached   their   18th   birthday  are       and     believe    they   are   viewed    only   as   providers     of

often left without critical supports to help them transition               services      rather   than    key   stakeholders.      CPS     must

into adulthood, including how to make the connection to                    respect and honor the efforts of kin, include them more

educational,   job   placement,   health   care,   housing   and           appropriately       in    decision-making        processes,      and

community       resources.     I  have   directed    CPS    to   help      reassess      available    support   to   help   facilitate  placing

                                                                           children in their care.

               Increase Community Involvement in the Child Welfare System

A     message       heard    consistently      and    resoundingly        corporate      and    business      world,   neighborhoods        and

throughout   the   Commission   and   public   input   process            individual members of the public. While the need for an

was the need for state government to actively engage                      increased role of the community is discussed throughout

the   community  in  the   child   protection   system   to   report      this   Action   Plan,   the   role  of   the   collective   community

abuse     and    neglect,   to  support    children  and    families      must be recognized in its own right as part of the solution

when a child has been removed, and to support families                    in   ensuring   a   healthy   future   for   Arizona’s   children.   We

after    reunification   occurs.    “Community”       includes    not     must also do a better job of educating the public about

only    the  traditional   volunteers    in  the  child   protection      the CPS system.

system,   such   as   Foster   Care   Review   Board   members

and Court Appointed Special Advocates, but also faith-

based       organizations,       philanthropic       entities,    the

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         Increase Community Involvement in the Child Welfare System (cont.)

Action     6.0:  Expand     Role   of  Volunteers,     Including         planning     that   simultaneously      pursues     both    family

Faith-Based Organizations.                                               reunification   and   an   alternative   plan   for   permanency.

Through      the   Community       Network     Teams,      I  have       Other promising strategies such as the Annie E. Casey

directed DES to expand the role of traditional and non-                  Foundation's   "Family   to   Family   Program"   and   Illinois'

traditional   community      volunteers    in  the  child  welfare       implementation      of  accreditation    must   also  be   closely

and    protection    system,   particularly   that  of  the   faith-     evaluated and pursued when beneficial to Arizona.

based community. I have also directed CPS to contact

the   State   Foster   Care   Review   Board   about   how   that       Action 6.3: Organize a State Foster Youth Advisory

Board, consistent with its oversight function, can advise                Board     and    Ensure     that   They    Have     a  Voice     in

through     its  quarterly   meetings,     CPS     administrators        Implementing Changes to the CPS System.

regarding   service   gaps   or   system     problems   it   or   the    I   have   directed   CPS   to   immediately   organize   a   state

local   review   boards   identify   as   part   of   their   review   of Foster Youth Advisory Board comprised of young adults

CPS   cases,   particularly   as   to   areas   where   CPS   does       currently   in  the  CPS    system    as   well  as  foster   care

not currently meet federal standards. I am encouraging                   alumni.    This   Board   will  identify  and   address    issues

the   Department      of  Education    and   the   Administrative        related    to  youth    in  out-of-home     care    and   provide

Office    of  the  Courts   to  work   with   CPS    to  eliminate       recommendations            for    program       improvements,

barriers, including duplicative training and fingerprinting              particularly   as   to  the  transition   from   foster   care   to

requirements, for Court Appointed Special Advocates to                   independent      living.  Youth   in  the  foster   care  system

become       surrogate    parents   for  children    with  special       must be a leading voice in implementing reform.

educational needs.

                                                                        Action       6.4:   Appoint      an     Advisory      Committee

Action   6.1:   Support   Consumer   Involvement   in   the              Responsible for Oversight of the Implementation of

Design      and    Oversight     of   the   CPS    System      and       This Action Plan.

Improve Response to All Constituents.                                    This Fall I will appoint an Advisory Committee from the

As    evidenced     by  the   testimony    received   during    the      child   welfare   community,   which   will   meet   quarterly   to

public   input   process,   the   CPS   system   suffers   from   a      oversee implementation of this Action Plan.

lack of trust and involvement by those very persons that

the    system    is  attempting     to  serve.   Consumers       of     Action   6.5:   Support   Process   for   Continued   Public

services     such    as   foster   care   alumni,    older   youth       Input.

currently   in   the   system,   kinship   families,   and   parents     The    public    testimony    and    written   comments      have

who     received   services    must   be   full  partners   in  the      provided    me    with  insightful,  meaningful    input   on  the

design     and    oversight    of   the   system.     CPS     must       process   of   continuous   improvement   of   Arizona’s   child

appropriately recognize and support these stakeholders                  welfare     system.   Please    continue    to  provide   me   with

through       leadership      training,    reimbursement        for     your thoughts and concerns through my Policy Advisor

expenses, compensation for significant contributions of                 for     Children’s     Services,     Tracy     L.   Wareing       at

time and, most importantly, respect for their views and                 twareing@az.gov.

expertise. I have also directed CPS, in coordination with

my   office,   to   improve   day-to-day   communications   with        Action       6.6:    Improve       Public      Education       and

clients and other constituents and to increase consumer                 Awareness of the CPS System.

awareness       of  the  role  of  the   Ombudsman’s        Office,      My   office   and   CPS   are   launching   a   public   awareness

which is an independent entity with staff designated to                  and    education    initiative  to  increase    knowledge     and

review individual case concerns regarding CPS.                           accountability      of    the     system.     This     enhanced

                                                                         communication         is   designed      to    increase     public

Action      6.2:   Partner     with    National      Groups      to      understanding of the mission and role of CPS and build

Implement       State    of  the   Art   Practices    Shown      to      public   trust  in  the  system.    Using   public   and   private

Improve Safety, Permanency and Well Being.                               resources, as appropriate, this initiative will also expand

Several   practices   both   in   Arizona   and   nationwide   are       communications        about     the   services     available    for

demonstrating        effectiveness      in   improving      safety,      children    and    families,   recruit   foster   and    adoptive

permanency        and   well   being   for   children   and   their     families,     and    promote     community       involvement      in

families.   I  have   instructed  DES     to  continue    to  forge      improving the CPS system.

partnerships      with  groups    such   as   national   resource

centers,     foundations     specializing     in  child   welfare,      Action     6.7:  Provide     Greater    Insight   into   the  CPS

national organizations such as Child Welfare League of                   Dependency System to the Public.

America, American Public Human Services Association,                     I  will  propose    legislation  in   the   special   session    to

and     others    who    may    help   to   identify,  fund    and       expand the pilot to open CPS dependency hearings to

implement   the   best   strategies   for   Arizona.   DES   must        include    at  least  two   rural  counties   (the   pilot,  which

continue     to   give   particular   attention   to   concurrent        began     September      18,  is  currently   only  in  Maricopa

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         Increase Community Involvement in the Child Welfare System (cont.)

County).   This   follows   a   national   trend   to   open   these

types   of   proceedings   as   a   means   of   increasing   public

awareness       and   system     accountability.    The   pilot  law

calls for an evaluation of the impact and effectiveness

of the program and the provision of an interim report by

January 1, 2004 and a final report by October 15, 2004.

Unless   the   evaluation   identifies   otherwise,   I   intend   to

propose       legislation   in   the    first  session     following

completion      of  the   pilot,  to  create   a  presumption      of

openness       for  all  dependency      cases    statewide,    with

discretion left to the court, including at the request of a

foster youth, to close all or a portion of the proceedings

to the public.

Action 6.8: Keep Members of the Public Informed as

to Progress of Reform.

My     office,  CPS    and   the   members      of  my   Children’s

Cabinet are committed to bringing you regular updates

regarding       progress     in   improving      Arizona’s      child

protection and child   welfare systems. Regular updates

will be posted on my web page as well as those of the

state agencies.

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                        Indicators of Improvement in Arizona’s Child Welfare System

Prevention

•Decreased number of families needing to enter the child protection system

•Increased number of families served by successful prevention programs

Investigation and Response

•Decreased number of child fatalities as a result of child abuse or neglect

•Increased timeliness of initiating investigations

•Increased number of investigations jointly responded to by law enforcement and CPS

•Increased use of multi-disciplinary teams to respond to and investigate reports of child abuse and neglect

•Increased number of prosecutions of criminal child abuse

Service Delivery

•Increased   provision   of   timely   and   comprehensive   assessments   of   the   behavioral   health,   medical   and

educational needs of children in the CPS system

•Increased number of children and families who participate in case planning that includes the provision of

services to meet the child’s behavioral health, medical, and educational needs

•Increased access to behavioral health services by children and families

•Increased training about the co-occurrence of domestic violence and child abuse and delivery of needed

services to victims

•Increased number of providers, specialists and others with child welfare experience who understand the

unique needs of children who have been abused or neglected

•Increased     number    of  available   services   that  are  accessible,   community   based,     child  centered,    and

focused on the strengths of the family

•Increased number of available services that are responsive to cultural, ethnic and linguistic needs of the

child and family

•Increased number of faith-based organizations, businesses and other community and local organizations

participating in the delivery of services to children and families

•Increased drawn down of Federal Funds, including foster care and adoption assistance (Title IV-E funds)

•Increased number of children receiving health care services through Medicaid (Title XIX funds)

Support

•Increased number of available foster care homes

•Reduced number of children in institutional and group home care

•Increased number of children who have been in foster care less than 12 months who have no more than

two placements

•Increased number of children who are placed with siblings

•Increased number of children who are safely reunified with their parents or caretakers within 12 months of

removal from home

•Increased number of children who achieve adoption within 24 months

•Decreased number of children who re-enter foster care within twelve months of being returned home

•Improved rate of retention of CPS case managers

•Increased number of CPS staff with bilingual abilities

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