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Final Word: Don't take funds from kids to fix CPS

The recent problems at CPS have the Arizona Legislature looking for a fix.

The fact that 6,000 reports of alleged child abuse went UNinvestigated caused alarm, as it should have. The department held hearings, Gov. Jan Brewer pledged to get to the bottom of the problem and Arizona residents have asked for the head of the Department of Economic Security to resign.

How to address the problems at CPS? No one really seems to know.

Callers to our Take 20 line on Rob & Karie said the workers at CPS are working too hard, taking on too many cases and don't have the authority to adequately protect kids. Others said that CPS is poorly run and needs to be reorganized or completely blown up.

John Kavanaugh, a Republican legislator from Fountain Hills, wants to take money from another state department, one that funds something called Arizona First Things First. He wants a quarter of the department's budget, or $33 to $45 million, to help fix CPS.

Problem is, those funds are used to get at-risk kids ready for school and keep them there. It services many low-income families, including scholarships for daycare and services for healthcare and family support. It was created by voters with funding from the state's tobacco tax.

One of the daycare facilities that gets funding from First Things First is Phoenix Day. This childcare facility said that the money they get helps kids enter school ready to succeed, so they can keep up with the kids from the wealthier neighborhoods. Most of these kids come from poor neighborhoods and 15 percent of them are under CPS care already.

Doesn't it make sense that spending money on these kids BEFORE things go south for them and their families is less expensive and more effective than spending money on case management when they are 14 and their family situation has deteriorated beyond repair?

It's about as smart as spending money on the prison instead of the classroom.

Find the money for fix CPS somewhere else. It shouldn't take $45 million and it shouldn't come from the money that's voters approved, in part, to prevent the child abuse in the first place.

About the Author

Karie Dozer is host of Arizona's Noon News.

She has been an on-air personality nearly continually since her college days. She loves radio because it is intelligent, immediate and almost always available.

She is the youngest of nine children from a Midwestern Catholic family where she learned to be heard, fight for a place at the table and find humor in almost everything. She was hired as a news intern while a senior at ASU's Cronkite School, and found that covering human stories like the OJ Simpson white Bronco chase and the 1992-93 Phoenix Suns was too much fun to pass up.

She loved life in the newsroom with all the action and crazy personalities to go with it. She anchored and covered some sports too, until politics dragged her away. She served as press secretary for Arizona's Attorney General Grant Woods for a five-year stint before jumping back to radio on a part-time basis. Three years ago she got back in the biz on a more regular basis as a midday host on what is now KTAR News. She has a passion for the breaking news of the moment, education, local politics, great food, sports and fitness. She has trouble turning down a good argument, a good book or a good glass of wine.

In her spare time she takes care of her boys, (husband Rich, son Jack, and yellow lab Buddy,) and bakes awesome chocolate chip cookies. She enjoys the quality of life the Valley offers her family and the natural beauty of Arizona. Her favorite places are golf courses, her own kitchen, the city of Flagstaff, and wherever her family is.

She considers herself lucky to work with the amazingly talented people of KTAR radio.


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