Arizona lawmakers get their first look today at a raft of bills aimed at improving the state’s Child Protective Services after a gubernatorial task force was formed in the wake of several high-profile child deaths last summer, reports the Arizona Republic. Two committees will hear the bills, which include proposals to develop a special committee to oversee CPS reforms and look into privatizing the agency, provide grandparents a stipend for raising their grandchildren, and require group homes to provide teens with life-skills training.
The bills are among dozens of reforms to Arizona’s child-welfare system planned in the coming months. But it remains to be seen whether the efforts — which focus on what happens after CPS receives a report — will reduce CPS caseloads, slow the steady rise in the number of foster children or improve the safety of children. Rep. Terri Proud, R-Tucson, said the Department of Economic Security, which oversees CPS, is the only state agency without an oversight committee. Under House Bill 2249, a 13-member committee would look for ways to improve CPS and investigate privatization efforts in other states.