Brewer delivers State of State in Oro Valley - CPS abolished, fiscal state is reportedly in good shape - The Explorer: News

Brewer delivers State of State in Oro Valley - CPS abolished, fiscal state is reportedly in good shape

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Posted: Wednesday, January 15, 2014 11:21 am | Updated: 11:31 am, Wed Jan 15, 2014.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer reiterated her commitment to reorganizing the state’s Child Protective Services Division during the second round of delivering her State of the State address in Oro Valley Tuesday.

As the new legislative session gets under way, Brewer said CPS would no longer be under the Department of Economic Security. Brewer has issued an executive order to abolish CPS entirely and create a new Division of Child Safety and Family Services, which will report directly to the governor.

Charles Flanagan, who led the independent team tasked with investigating thousands of calls that were either ignored or not thoroughly investigated by CPS, will lead the new division.

Brewer reported that Flanagan and the CARE team has assigned more than 3,000 cases, and the Department of Public Safety has been asked to help investigate.

“Our job is far from over,” Brewer said. “It is evident that our child welfare system is broken – impeded by years of structural and operational failures.”

To the more than 800 in attendance Tuesday, Brewer vowed to stop making excuses and start producing results where abused, neglected and endangered children are concerned.

“The time has come to statutorily establish a separate agency that focuses exclusively on the safety and well-being of children, and helping families in distress without jeopardizing child safety,” Brewer said. “I call on the legislature to work with me to codify a new permanent agency.”

Besides protecting children, Brewer said she would also continue to focus on behavioral health issues in Arizona.

“As governor, I insisted that we properly fund and fundamentally reform behavioral health into a holistic, community-based system,” Brewer said. “I’m pleased that over the past two years, with good faith negotiations in the Arnold v. Sarn litigation, this goal was accomplished.”

The lawsuit, Arnold vs. Sarn, was filed in 1981 when advocates for the seriously mentally ill in Maricopa County turned to the courts for relief in treating patients who don’t qualify for Medicaid.

Brewer announced that the dispute that has been fought in court for decades has recently been settled. The agreement will require $37.8 million from the state’s general fund, and the state will save an estimated $9.5 million when previously ill patients qualify for Medicaid.

“While the watershed agreement ends more than 30 years of litigation, it is structured so that if a future governor or legislature fails to live up to its terms, plaintiffs will be able to reopen the case,” said Brewer, “This agreement is the result of the hard work and dedication of many devoted people.”

Brewer focused a lot of her speech on issues such as CPS, behavioral health care and human trafficking in Arizona because she started her prepared statement by saying the state of Arizona economically is in good shape.

“In 2009, Arizona’s budget was irresponsibly drained,” Brewer said. “After years of unsustainable spending, we had the worst budget deficit of any state. Today, we’ve reined in government spending by consolidating, eliminating and transforming our operations. In 2009, Arizona had a $3 billion deficit. Today, Arizona boasts a healthy state surplus and a replenished Rainy Day fund.”

Brewer said Arizona finished the last fiscal year with $900 million in the bank, and through various tax reforms, the state created more than 175,000 jobs and $4.3 billion in new capital investment last year.

Full text of Governor Jan Brewer speech

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer reiterated her commitment to reorganizing the state’s Child Protective Services Division during the second round of delivering her State of the State address in Oro Valley Tuesday.

As the new legislative session gets under way, Brewer said CPS would no longer be under the Department of Economic Security. Brewer has issued an executive order to abolish CPS entirely and create a new Division of Child Safety and Family Services, which will report directly to the governor.

Charles Flanagan, who led the independent team tasked with investigating thousands of calls that were either ignored or not thoroughly investigated by CPS, will lead the new division.

Brewer reported that Flanagan and the CARE team has assigned more than 3,000 cases, and the Department of Public Safety has been asked to help investigate.

“Our job is far from over,” Brewer said. “It is evident that our child welfare system is broken – impeded by years of structural and operational failures.”

To the more than 800 in attendance Tuesday, Brewer vowed to stop making excuses and start producing results where abused, neglected and endangered children are concerned.

“The time has come to statutorily establish a separate agency that focuses exclusively on the safety and well-being of children, and helping families in distress without jeopardizing child safety,” Brewer said. “I call on the legislature to work with me to codify a new permanent agency.”

Besides protecting children, Brewer said she would also continue to focus on behavioral health issues in Arizona.

“As governor, I insisted that we properly fund and fundamentally reform behavioral health into a holistic, community-based system,” Brewer said. “I’m pleased that over the past two years, with good faith negotiations in the Arnold v. Sarn litigation, this goal was accomplished.”

The lawsuit, Arnold vs. Sarn, was filed in 1981 when advocates for the seriously mentally ill in Maricopa County turned to the courts for relief in treating patients who don’t qualify for Medicaid.

Brewer announced that the dispute that has been fought in court for decades has recently been settled. The agreement will require $37.8 million from the state’s general fund, and the state will save an estimated $9.5 million when previously ill patients qualify for Medicaid.

“While the watershed agreement ends more than 30 years of litigation, it is structured so that if a future governor or legislature fails to live up to its terms, plaintiffs will be able to reopen the case,” said Brewer, “This agreement is the result of the hard work and dedication of many devoted people.”

Brewer focused a lot of her speech on issues such as CPS, behavioral health care and human trafficking in Arizona because she started her prepared statement by saying the state of Arizona economically is in good shape.

“In 2009, Arizona’s budget was irresponsibly drained,” Brewer said. “After years of unsustainable spending, we had the worst budget deficit of any state. Today, we’ve reined in government spending by consolidating, eliminating and transforming our operations. In 2009, Arizona had a $3 billion deficit. Today, Arizona boasts a healthy state surplus and a replenished Rainy Day fund.”

Brewer said Arizona finished the last fiscal year with $900 million in the bank, and through various tax reforms, the state created more than 175,000 jobs and $4.3 billion in new capital investment last year.

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