Sorry kids, there's no room in the budget to protect you

Photo provided by Cronkite News
Rep. Victoria Steele, D-Tucson

It could be said that Angel Manuel Rodriguez was one tough little kid. In his more
The news that the Arizona Department of Child Safety plans to stop assigning lower-priority cases of child abuse for investigation sent chills down my spine.
We have seen the damage created by policies like this. It was not long ago that the deaths of children prompted an investigation into the now-defunct Child Protective Services.
In November 2013, that investigation led to the shocking revelation that thousands of reports of child abuse and neglect had gone uninvestigated. The reports came in, but because the agency was understaffed, thousands of reports were labeled NI (Not-Investigated) and forgotten.
Last year, the Legislature reformed Arizona's child-safety system, shutting down CPS and forming a new Department of Child Safety with a new director and a plan to change the system so all children were protected.
Now, less than a year later, the new agency returns to the old policies, which endangered children. Although the label is slightly different, calling a case "unassigned" instead of "not-investigated" has the same potentially deadly result. Likewise, changing the name of the agency is meaningless if the agency reverts to the same dangerous practices.
Arizona has a dismal child-welfare track record. We have a backlog of more than 15,000 reports of child abuse and neglect. About 17,000 children are already in foster care, many of them living in group homes.
This year, Gov. Doug Ducey and the Republican-controlled Legislature took $11 million from the Department of Child Safety that was dedicated to dealing with the backlog. They also cut $9 million from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, which provides support for our state's most poverty-stricken families.
The Republican leadership made other choices that a report from Children's Action Alliance says will "leave more children in danger and will drive up neglect." The new budget cuts $2 million from the Department of Economic Security, $3 million from youth treatment funds and $4 million from child care assistance for working families.
The budget did, however, include funding for a new private prison and more than $3 billion in corporate and special interest tax giveaways.
If you, too, are outraged by how our state government is treating our children, I challenge you to do more than just feel bad. Empathy is not enough. We must be actively compassionate.
You can contact your elected officials and demand that state law be followed. Demand that all reports of child abuse and neglect be assigned and investigated. Demand the restoration of preventative services to help Arizona's struggling families.
Above all, you can demand accountability from those making the decisions that will have long-term, devastating consequences.
Voting is an act of compassion. It is one of the most powerful steps anyone can take to help protect the future of our state and the well-being of our children. I implore you to shocompassion at the ballot box.
Rep. Victoria Steele is a Democrat from Tucson.


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Please make note that I, Jessica Lynn Hepner the creator of What Every Parent Should Know, is not giving legal advice. I am not a lawyer. I am giving you knowledge via first hand experiences.

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Save A Life by Angie Kassabie

Save A Life by Angie Kassabie
I URGE ALL MY FRIENDS TO READ & SHARE THIS; YOU COULD SAVE A LOVED ONES LIFE BY KNOWING THIS SIMPLE INFORMATION!!! Stroke has a new indicator! They say if you forward this to ten people, you stand a chance of saving one life. Will you send this along? Blood Clots/Stroke - They Now Have a Fourth Indicator, the Tongue: During a BBQ, a woman stumbled and took a little fall - she assured everyone that she was fine (they offered to call paramedics) ...she said she had just tripped over a brick because of her new shoes. They got her cleaned up and got her a new plate of food. While she appeared a bit shaken up, Jane went about enjoying herself the rest of the evening. Jane's husband called later telling everyone that his wife had been taken to the hospital - (at 6:00 PM Jane passed away.) She had suffered a stroke at the BBQ. Had they known how to identify the signs of a stroke, perhaps Jane would be with us today. Some don't die. They end up in a helpless, hopeless condition instead. It only takes a minute to read this. A neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim within 3 hours he can totally reverse the effects of a stroke...totally. He said the trick was getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed, and then getting the patient medically cared for within 3 hours, which is tough. >>RECOGNIZING A STROKE<< Thank God for the sense to remember the '3' steps, STR. Read and Learn! Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer severe brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke. Now doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions: S *Ask the individual to SMILE. T *Ask the person to TALK and SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE (Coherently) (i.e. Chicken Soup) R *Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS. If he or she has trouble with ANY ONE of these tasks, call emergency number immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher. New Sign of a Stroke -------- Stick out Your Tongue NOTE: Another 'sign' of a stroke is this: Ask the person to 'stick' out his tongue. If the tongue is 'crooked', if it goes to one side or the other that is also an indication of a stroke. A cardiologist says if everyone who gets this e-mail sends it to 10 people; you can bet that at least one life will be saved. I have done my part. Will you?

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