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Child Safety Department revoking group homes’ license

Greg McKay was announced Feb. 10 by Gov. Doug Ducey as the new director of the Arizona Department of  Child Safety, (Photo by Rachel Leingang/Arizona Capitol Times)

Greg McKay, director of the Arizona Department of
Child Safety. (Photo by Rachel Leingang/Arizona Capitol Times)

The state Department of Child Safety on Monday said it was moving to revoke the license of a Mesa company that runs four group homes for troubled youth in the Phoenix area.

The action announced Monday against Golden State Human Development comes after repeated problems at the homes, including more than 170 law enforcement calls to two of the homes between January and July.

Other alleged problems that prompted the unusual step included children being left unattended for hours, failing to provide medical treatment and not intervening in altercations between the children who lived in the homes. Golden State also didn’t have proof that it did background checks on some of its workers and inadequately secured medication, cleaning supplies and medications.

The foster children living at the homes were moved out in recent days, department spokesman Doug Nick said. The homes were licensed to care for 35 children and handled girls ages 10 to 17.

“This is one of those situations that became egregious, so we made a move,” Nick said.

The company can appeal the loss of its license. Call seeking comment from Golden State CEO Greg Johnson at the number listed on the nonprofit’s tax returns weren’t immediately returned.

Child Safety Department Director Greg McKay ordered more frequent licensing monitoring visits for group homes after taking over the department in February. He also implemented a policy of sharing responsibility for the care and safety of children in the foster care system between the state and group home operators.

The state had more than 17,500 children in out-of-home care as of March 31, including more than 1,700 living in group homes. 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