PHOENIX (Wednesday, February 1, 2017) – In a move to further bolster oversight of when children can be removed from their families, the Arizona Department of Child Safety announced today they will convene a team of experts with the Arizona Courts and stakeholders to consider a system where DCS investigators must first obtain a court order before removing children from unsafe homes.
"Including a judge earlier in the process helps protect caseworkers while they make critical decisions; and further safeguards citizens against unreasonable government encroachment,” said DCS Director Greg McKay. “Both are wins."
The team’s goal will center on creating a process where judges have more involvement at the time when children are initially removed from their home for abuse or neglect, creating another layer of protection for parental rights.
“The court has a responsibility to protect the constitutional rights of parents as well as making determinations about the safety of children brought before the court,” said Maricopa County Presiding Juvenile Judge Colleen McNally. “The judicial branch is committed to working with the other branches of government to provide access to justice from the very beginning of court cases involving vulnerable children.”
The team is yet another part of DCS’s ongoing, successful improvement project to ensure every measure is taken to protect children while at the same time respecting all citizens’ rights.
Contact: Darren DaRonco, Public Information Officer
ABOUT DIRECTOR GREGORY MCKAY
Gregory A. McKay is a twenty year veteran of Law Enforcement with an emphasis on criminal investigations of violent crime. He was awarded Arizona's Investigator of the Year for solving many recent high-profile child murder cases. As a former Arizona foster parent, he understands the lasting emotional and physical effects of abuse to a child. In 2013, he was awarded Childhelp USA’s Heart of an Angel Award, recognizing his distinguished career in child advocacy, investigative expertise, and removal of child predators. Director McKay was appointed by Governor Douglas A. Ducey on February 10, 2015.
ABOUT THE DEPARTMENT OF CHILD SAFETY (DCS)
The Department of Child Safety is dedicated to the vision that “Children thrive in family environments free from abuse and neglect.” As highly motivated and caring public servants, the DCS team is committed to fulfilling this mission with excellence, providing safety and well-being for the most vulnerable population in Arizona - our children. If you suspect child abuse, call 888-SOS-CHILD.