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New Department of Child Safety director determined to make things work

Charles Flanagan, director of the Division of Child Safety and Family Services speaks during a press briefing on the plan to create a new child-welfare agency as John Arnold (background right) Gov. Brewer's Budget Director looks on. in the executive tower at the Arizona state capitol in Phoenix on Thursday, May 22, 2014. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, David Wallace)
PHOENIX -- A new agency that's designed to protect Arizona's children now exists, thanks to a special session in the state Legislature.

The director of that agency is determined to make it a success.

Just after signing the bill on Thursday that created the new Arizona Department of Child Safety, Gov. Jan Brewer officially hired former Juvenile Corrections Director Charles Flanagan to head the department. DCS replaces Child Protective Services, which the governor abolished for failing to investigate thousands of possible child abuse cases.

Flanagan said the state made a lot of mistakes in the past when it comes to protecting children.

"We have not responded when we should have, we have not removed children when we should have, and we have not removed children when we shouldn't have," he said.

Flanagan said his goal is to make sure the new department doesn't make the same errors.

"I hope that, through our efforts, we will be successful," he said. "But I am resolved that we will be (successful) if it is the last thing that I do on the face of this earth."

Flanagan said his goal is to have DCS working on every one of the thousands of cases that CPS failed to investigate by the time Brewer's term ends.

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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 am married to my wife Rene', who is a librarian in the Washington school district. During free time, I may be found playing basketball in the driveway with my son, Devin. He's also keeping me busy with school, Little League, and playing in chess tournaments around the Valley.

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: Doug Oldham gospel concert in the 1970s at the old East High School in Phoenix.

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 - Northern Hills Community Church in Phoenix. We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and 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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