CPS mom says 'Fix this system'
A budget bungle shut down court-ordered parent-child visitations. CPS said nothing would change after it restored funding for the visits. A mom with a child in CPS custody says visitation rules certainly changed for her. Video by kgun9.comvideo
"Stella", who wants to remain anonymous, has a child in CPS custody. She says her supervised visits with her child have dropped from three a week to one--the minimum required to meet a judge's order
State Senator Steve Farley says CPS could have avoided disrupting parent-child visitations if it had asked lawmakers for help before money ran out.
Reporter: Craig Smith
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - It turns out Arizona Child Protective Services has told more fibs and broken more promises than we've previously reported.
Remember when CPS stopped, then restored funding for parental visits in December, and promised, "nothing would change?"
Did you believe that?
If not, congratulate yourself for not being gullible.
Nine on Your Side's probe of CPS documents found private agencies warned high case loads were burning through their visitation budgets---and CPS let them expect it would send them more.
That was a broken promise. Agencies shut down visits and laid off staff just as families were looking forward to Christmas.
"Somebody needs to start somewhere and fix this system."
That's a woman we'll call Stella. Because she wants to stay anonymous, Stella is not her real name; but her hurt is real. The meltdown got between her and her daughter. When CPS restored funding it said nothing would change.
It's changed for Stella.
She says she used to see her daughter three times a week. She says she's down to one--the minimum a judge required.
KGUN9 reporter Craig Smith asked: "Have they given you much hope that it'll get back to more frequent visits? Stella: No. I have not heard from my case manager in weeks."
Aviva Childrens Services, says CPS could okay more than court-ordered minimums but may be stretching the budget.
State Senator Steve Farley says when lawmakers passed emergency money for CPS, they realized it had a problem.
Senator Farley says, "....contrary to what the director's press release said at the time in December."
He wants DES Director Clarence Carter to apologize for his agency.
But we told the Senator more than 400 pages of documents showed us no sign Carter even asked any questions about visitation problems.
Craig Smith asked: "What do you think about that?"
Sen. Farley: "Either he's hiding something or even more disturbing, he's not engaged in the management of his actual agency."
Stella hopes more mothers will speak up.
"And get more of this out for people to start helping us. Whether it's the Governor, or CPS or KGUN9, somebody, somehow, fight for our children."
Late Thursday, we e-mailed Flora Sotomayor, the CPS chief for Pima County asking whether visitation services had changed.
She did not reply, the official CPS spokeswoman wrote back instead.
She said there is not what she calls a blanket change in how CPS handles visitation cases but the agency may do what she calls a best determination for individual cases.
If you have an opinion on this issue a good person to call would be DES Director Clarence Carter's boss: Governor Jan Brewer.
Her number during regular business hours is (602) 542-4331.
You can e-mail her here:
Or write to:
The Honorable Janice K. Brewer
1700 West Washington Street
Phoenix, AZ 85007