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Arizona Senate committee OK's more cash for child services

PHOENIX -- An Arizona Senate committee has approved an emergency request from Gov. Jan Brewer to hire 50 Child Protective Services workers.

Wednesday's unanimous vote by the Appropriations Committee provides $4.4 million so the overwhelmed agency can begin hiring the new workers immediately. The bill now goes to the full Senate.

The House Appropriations Committee takes up an identical measure Wednesday afternoon.

Brewer is also asking the Legislature for $67 million for 150 more CPS workers, foster care and other new child protection spending for the budget year beginning July 1.

CPS has seen a 32 percent increase in abuse reports since 2009 and the number of children in out-of-home care has increased by 40 percent. But the agency also saw staffing cuts when budgets were cut during the recession.

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