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JLBC members question McKay’s absence

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 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)

Joint Legislative Budget Committee members questioned why they were hearing from Michael Dellner, operations chief at the Department of Child Safety, rather than Greg McKay, the agency’s director, since the Dec. 15 meeting had been on the calendar for weeks.

Dellner said he did not know the location of his boss.

Agency spokesman Doug Nick said after the hearing McKay had told key committee members and staffers he would not be attending. Committee Chairman Rep. Justin Olson, R-Mesa, however, said no one told him that, calling McKay’s no-show “a surprise to me.”

Sen. Steve Farley, D-Tucson, said McKay, as the “hand-picked guy” of Gov. Doug Ducey, should have been there – and should have had the answers.

“He set certain benchmarks himself, like to reduce the backlog (of inactive cases) to 1,000,” Farley said.

“Well, it’s almost 15,000,” Farley continued. “And he can’t show up to defend these numbers?”

The vote to find the agency’s report unacceptable may be largely symbolic. But Olson said it should be seen as a message to McKay – and the Ducey administration – that any request for even more taxpayer dollars will receive sharp scrutiny.

“If the agency’s going to ask for additional resources, we need to see how those additional resources are going to solve the problem,” Olson said. “We give them these resources and yet they’ve not hired the staff to address the backlog. They clearly have not been used for the purpose we were told they would be used for.”

And Olson questioned whether DCS is even paying attention to the Legislature.

“It feels like many times we’re establishing policy and that policy isn’t being implemented,” he said, as the general oversight of the agency is up to the governor. Olson called that “frustrating.”

But he declined to criticize Ducey, saying he believes the agency and child welfare is “a high priority” for the governor.

One comment

  1. Of course McKay didn’t show up. His job is impossible…no one has done or could ever do it as the Child Welfare System is set up in this state. CPS and the foster care contractors are bloated and collapsing under 18,000, now we hear close to 19,000 thousand children most of whom do not belong living with strangers. Most children in AZ have been seized from non offending parents, grandparents and or family members who have never harmed any child and know the child, love the child and want the child home with them. DCS seizes children from families who must for financial constraints have their children share a bedroom with their siblings or even grandma…. seriously…we are not joking. DCS seizes children from parents whom have dared to demand second opinions from doctors at Phoenix Children’s Hospital or dared to turn down drug trials they feel are not safe for their medically fragile children. DCS seizes children from poor parents struggling to make ends meet and call it neglect and abuse…a missed dental appointment or doctors appointment. Kids playing basket ball in front of their homes. Any reason will do.

    Although children seized by DCS sleep in holding tanks infested with bedbugs and lice and are in group homes in which they are battered and molested…Mr. Bnovich sought and additional 11 million dollars to cover unhappy Atty. Generals to the end of the year…as they conduct war on non offending, law abiding American citizens, fighting their hearts out to get their children back in the dependency courts. As court watchers and child advocates we are in those courts daily…The court proceedings are secret, we are often thrown out if we refuse relinquish our 1st Amendment rights…litigants are gagged, threatened, because the court players including, Atty. Generals for the state fear the public will learn of their outrageous behaviors, tactics, their Perjury, Fabrication of evidence Failure to disclose and suppression of known exculpatory evidence being withheld from judges…. and their Obtaining testimony by duress and undue influence. There are endless sums of money by this state being spent on this war waged on families in AZ and no one other than the terrified family members and advocates know about it. Families are gagged and threatened with incarceration if they speak of what is happening to them and their children…even if the children are being severely neglected and abused in the hands of the state…or mention anything about their cases. This thing has reached a tipping point… critical mass.

    One thing the tax payers must understand is that bipartisan hearings held by Senators Wyden and Hatch found that the run of the mill seizure of a child by DCS/CPS into foster care/group homes is $80,000.00 per year, per child! These senators did the math…and found that children are better off at home..and it is more cost effective and safer for children for the state, to provide families with a little help. Now the citizens of AZ deserve the truth so that they too can do the math. If Greg McKay seizes 3 children from one family that costs the taxpayer is $240,000. a year to feed the Department of Child Safety comprising thousands of workers. It’s a mess and does not work. Find away to investigate the 80 or so percent of children who don’t belong… and start putting the billions to this state from the feds into the educational system. Why do AZ Schools have to sue the state of Arizona to keep their heads above water…while DCS sucks up all the resources. At least educators do something to protect the growing minds and bodies of children.
    This article ask half questions, but we thank you for it.

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