State seeks consultant to make sure new Department of Child Safety runs properly

TUCSON, AZ (TNN) – Protecting Arizona's children will take more than simply changing the name of Child Protective Services to the Department of Child Safety. The state is seeking someone to show it how to make the new department more effective.

This consultant for Department of Child Safety should have a national status and expertise in child welfare system planning and operations. That requirement is according to the state auditor's request for proposals. The contract is worth up to a quarter million dollars.

The new department will hire more case workers and it has four main objectives: investigate reports of abuse and neglect; support the child's safety in a safe and stable family or other appropriate placement; work with law enforcement in regards to such reports; and coordinate services to keep kids with their families when it is safe. That final requirement would include intervention and counseling.

Advocates for children will be watching. This contract is to make sure the new DCS complies with laws and delivers services in the most efficient way.

"Prevention is important because if families are able to safely take care of their children and children are able to stay in their homes, a lot of these cases, remember, are neglect, if children are able to safely stay in their homes, it's a much better alternative to being removed from the home which we know from research is a kind of trauma that is hard to overcome," said David Higuera, southern Arizona director for Children's Action Alliance.

Proposals will be taken until September third. The consultant will complete the report no later than the start of next July.

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