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County attorney hoping child welfare gets nod

PHOENIX -- One man who is hoping for approval on a new child welfare service in Arizona is Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery.

He said, as far back as 2003, Child Protective Services was a mess.

"Efforts were not enough to change the culture and underscore the focus, which is intervening as soon as possible and providing preventive services so that cases don't escalate to a point where you have criminal conduct allegations involved," he said. "Where you have to remove a child because the environment is no longer safe for them."

Montgomery said he's proud to have been a part of the team that helped come up with the plan for the Department of Child Safety.

"What is being provided for the Legislature's consideration represents the best of everybody working hard in the best interests of Arizona's children."

Montgomery said he hopes the new department will mean his department will no longer have to investigate certain kinds of cases.

"I'd prefer if we never got another cases where a child has been killed and there's been previous interaction with the child welfare system," he said.

The Arizona Legislature is expected to vote Thursday on whether to approve Gov. Jan Brewer's proposed Department of Child Safety. It would replace Child Protective Services, which Brewer abolished last year after it failed to investigate thousands of possible child abuse cases.

The plan received initial approval on Wednesday.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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