News Article

ACF funds three-year research project on Arizona's foster children

A report released by Morrison Institute for Public Policy at ASU explores the impact of neglect on children entering Arizona's foster care system. The 'Neglect of Neglect' is the first in a series of briefs as part of the Spotlight on Arizona Kids project.

Morrison Institute for Public Policy at ASU has released The 'Neglect of Neglect': Exploring the Less-Visible Side of Child Maltreatment, a white paper exploring the impact neglect has on children who enter Arizona's foster care system. While child abuse often captures news headlines and research studies, the fact is most Arizona children are removed from their homes and sent to foster care because of neglect, not abuse.

Neglect assessment and prevention policies are among the initial areas of research and analysis by Morrison Institute for Public Policy working collaboratively with the Arizona Department of Child Safety on a three-year project titled Spotlight on Arizona's Kids. The project will include research, analysis and discussion about prevention services in Arizona and elsewhere, with an emphasis on best practices. These collective efforts are aimed to help state leaders, child advocates and others develop the most-effective child-welfare policies.

The Arizona Community Foundation is underwriting the project as part of an ongoing effort to make the welfare and education of Arizona's foster youth a major focus of our many public outreach and funding efforts.

"There is no group more vulnerable and more deserving of our best efforts than children at risk of entering the child welfare system and those already in the child welfare system," said Steve Seleznow, ACF's president & CEO. "We funded this critically important project to address the needs of the most vulnerable children in Arizona and ensure they are protected by their communities and are with healthy families to pave the way for a successful life."

Arizona DCS and Morrison Institute working together

The Arizona Department of Child Safety (DCS) was created in 2014 with new leadership committed to addressing the root causes of problems in a system strained beyond capacity and a mounting backlog of investigative and foster care cases. As part of that effort, and in support of its strategic plan, DCS is teaming with Morrison Institute to understand the types of family situations that come to the attention of DCS due to child neglect, and to identify proven and innovative child neglect prevention programs.

"Expanding prevention efforts in the area of neglect will have a significant impact on our ability to keep Arizona children safe," said Gregory McKay, Director of DCS. "We are looking forward to the research and findings of the Morrison Institute and are grateful to be included in this team effort. Prevention is a top priority for our community that will no doubt provide a brighter future for thousands of Arizona's most vulnerable children."

Morrison Institute independently will evaluate prevention programs and help develop policy options for effective prevention strategies regarding the common but different types of neglect: physical, emotional, medical and supervisory. The evaluation also will include neglect related to substance-exposed newborns.

"Neglect typically accounts for approximately 70 percent of all abuse reports made to DCS," said Thom Reilly, director of Morrison Institute. "The Governor and Legislature have expressed significant interest in expanding prevention services, and DCS has made this one of its top strategic priorities."

Plans for convenings and additional reports

A Leadership Forum will be convened quarterly with DCS personnel, legislators, state agencies, courts, state attorney general, county attorneys, child advocates, the business community and tribes to develop Arizona-specific solutions for effective prevention strategies.

A separate report will address the federal Title IV-E Waiver, as utilized in Arizona. Also, Department of Child Safety data will be analyzed to identify the prevalence of various types of neglect in the state.

In the news and online

For more information about the Spotlight on Arizona's Kids project and the Neglect of Neglect report:

Back to Top