With child safety a strong priority, Gov. Doug Ducey’s signoff on Arizona’s 2018 budget will serve to enhance adoption, child safety and foster care throughout the state, protecting at-risk individuals with authorized upgrades.
Thefiscal plan will facilitate fostering and adoption procedures, implement benefits for caregivers and update information technology for a better overall safety net for vulnerable youngsters, according to a press release.
“By supplementing policy and process improvements with investments in programs that work, we can ensure that children and families throughout Arizona are safe and secure,” Ducey’s office said.
The budget authorizes a total of $6.1 million for investment in a state-of-the-art IT system for the Arizona Department of Child Safety, which the governor’s office said was in serious need of updating. Consequently, case management and customer service administration will be improved.
Additionally, the budget lays out $2 million towards adoption for children in state care. The investment will advance the process of engaging prospective adoptive and foster parents.
Finally, a $1 million package known as the “grandmother stipend” is allotted for caregivers. While foster parents unrelated to their charges currently receive a stipend, non-parental relatives have not enjoyed the same benefit. The new budget changes that to support family members remaining together, rewarding “kinship caregivers.”
The governor’s office said that Arizona has made great strides in the child services sector over the past several years, with more children leaving the system than entering it, decreased placement time and a reduced case backlog.