Special Efforts Being Made in Arizona to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities

October 18, 2017- A new report offers a breakdown of what state child-welfare workers mean when they say they have taken a child from a home because of "neglect." The study analyzed 800 neglect reports made to the Department of Child Safety's child-abuse hotline over a two-year period. [Recommendation 7.2h]

After unsafe sleep environments claimed the lives of 74 Arizona infants in 2015, Arizona's child protection agency is providing new parents with commercially produced boxes intended for use as portable beds to provide infants with safe places to sleep and avoid preventable sleep-related deaths. In addition to the safe sleep boxes, they are also 
providing training for new parents on safe sleeping practices for infants. [Recommendation 7.1c]

DCS is addressing caseload volume by completing an investigation backlog reduction project, and by implementing targeted staff retention strategies. The strategic initiatives include refining the onboarding process and defining and implementing a leadership development program. [Recommendation 5.1]

DCS will improve the application of Arizona’s child safety assessment framework, known as the Arizona SAFE Model, by updating procedures and decision-making guidance, and by developing safety assessment experts to provide coaching and consultation for child safety specialists and supervisors. Technical assistance to support this initiative is being provided by Action for Child Protection. [7.3]

DCS is receiving technical assistance from Collaborative Safety LLC to implement a more in-depth systemic critical incident review process.  [Recommendations 5.1a, 6.2b]

Local Effort

Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian community: Following several deaths, the Tribal Council conducted an in-depth community-wide planning process that led to the launch of the Family Advocacy Center. The Family Advocacy Center is a multidisciplinary, child-friendly, trauma-informed center for investigations that brings together child protective services, probation, police, education, prosecution, behavioral health, the fire department, and other agencies as needed. New technology enables referrals to be made online and viewed by a large circle of tribal child protection staff. [Recommendations 7.4, 7.3, 6.1]