By Riley Morrison ’16
In cavalier fashion, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer announced Jan. 13 that she was “abolishing Child Protective Services as we know it” and replacing it with a new program reporting directly to her.
For a variety of reasons, this is bad news for neglected and abused children across the state. First, Gov. Brewer doesn’t know what she is doing.
She initiated the “Division of Child Safety and Family Services” without first having figured out whether she had money to fund the program, and without consulting many of the concerned Arizona lawmakers.
“Quite frankly, her appointee that was heading up CPS is what got us in this mess in the first place,” said House Minority Leader Rep. Chad Campbell during an interview with Bob Christie of the Associated Press. “And now she just did another appointee for what seems like a new entity without any input from us again.”
In addition, her appointed leaders of the program don’t exactly seem like the right people for the job.
The leader of the new program, Charles Flanagan, has had quite an illustrious job history.
According to the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections website, Flanagan “has more than 28 years of correctional experience… serving as a warden at two prison complexes, assistant director, work force development administrator and CEO of Correctional Industries.”
In more recent years Flanagan has been overseeing the team that investigated problems in CPS.
In what way does running a prison qualify him for the job of watching out for neglected children? Hopefully tough love won’t be his approach.
In addition, Gov. Brewer was one of the people who created the CPS budget issues that led to scandals within the agency in the first place.
According to a 2012 article by Mary K. Reinhart on AZCentral.com, “state budget cuts lengthened waiting lists for subsidized child care, domestic-violence shelters, substance-abuse programs and health care.”
Guess who had to sign off on those budget cuts.
Instead of starting entirely new programs from the ground up with equal budgets, wouldn’t it make more sense to simply give more money to the grossly underfunded program that already exists?
Since Brewer’s ascendancy to governor, I haven’t been much of a fan.
She shook her finger at the president of our country, signed racist and stereotypical SB1070 into law and loosened gun regulations after the Newtown shooting to the point of “no background check required” insanity.
All in all, it saddens me that Brewer is attempting to make the situation with CPS better.
I can only see her involvement making it worse.