Child advocates want state to put more resources into prevention - Tucson News Now

Child advocates want state to put more resources into prevention

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The protection of Arizona's children is now the focus of one state agency.  But child advocates hope that it will do more to prevent tragedy than simply respond to it.

About $384 million goes to the Division of Child Safety and Family Services but only $4 million goes to child care subsidies for the working poor.  The worry among child advocates is that the new division will only fix the messes of the past but do little to avoid future ones.

The stand alone agency that was taken out of the Department of Economic Security will hire more case workers and focus on retaining the ones that it has.  It aims to better evaluate the cases where the child does not need to be removed from its family, since abuse cases tend to be fewer than cases of neglect.  But Dr. Eric Schindler, the president and CEO of Child and Family Resources in Tucson, said that more resources need to go to counseling, drug treatment, and other prevention measures that can be used to preserve the family and keep kids out of foster care.  More subsidies for childcare for the working poor are also part of those concerns to avoid creating more cases down the line.

"We can celebrate but there are still thousands of people who are trying to get off of welfare, trying to become economically self sufficient and they don't know what to do.  They don't have any good choices," Dr. Schindler said.

Schindler said that creating a separate agency was a good move.  But he expects advocates to seek more resources next session.

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