Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona Overhauls Child Welfare System
PHOENIX — Gov. Jan Brewer abolished Arizona’s beleaguered Child Protective Services on Monday, immediately transferring the task of safeguarding abused and neglected children to a new cabinet-level division over which she will have direct oversight.
The move, unveiled at the governor’s State of the State address, is part of an overhaul aimed at fixing the problems that have plagued the state’s child welfare system for years, though none of them quite like last month’s revelation that more than 6,500 complaints of abuse received by the agency’s hotline had been shelved before any investigation.
Ms. Brewer has been under intense pressure from child welfare advocates, as well as legislators from both parties, including some of her closest allies, who have long sought the reorganization of Child Protective Services under a separate structure. The agency operates under the largest of the state’s bureaucracies, the Department of Economic Security, which oversees dozens of safety-net programs, including cash assistance and health care benefits for the poor.