The state attracted national attention for its failure to prevent and address child abuse and neglect. Since then, massive changes have led to massive improvements.
By J.B. Wogan | Governing
or much of the past decade, Arizona’s child welfare agency has been in crisis. The number of children entering the state’s foster care system grew 92 percent from 2005 to 2015. At one point, caseworkers were handling more than seven times the recommended caseloads; investigators had failed to look into more than 6,500 cases of abuse and neglect; and it took more than an average of 10 minutes to speak to a person on the child abuse hotline.
It was such a mess that in 2014, then-Gov. Jan Brewer created an agency dedicated to child welfare — something only 10 other states had done at the time.
The backlog of cases used to be about 16,200. Now it’s under 700 and shrinking.
“I have been closely following the progress of the backlog since the news broke that a major problem existed a couple years ago. There has been a dramatic improvement since then, and the current administration should be commended for their hard work in working toward solving this tough issue.”